Jeet Bahadur Giri, aged 60, is now the proud owner of a Lapsi (Nepalese Hog Plum) candy enterprise worth 12 lakh rupees in Sindhupalchowk but things weren’t always the same for Giri. His already poor economic state deteriorated after the expensive treatment for his broken back due to an unfortunate accident. With the intense back problem, Giri couldn’t find any source of livelihood, and agriculture alone in a limited land he owned was hard toil only enough for subsistence. When fate seemed against Giri, a training that specialized in lapsi candy making organized by a skill development center came as a boon to Giri in 2065 BS.
A community forest group was created and 29 of the group members were trained in lapsi candy making. Soon after the training, the group bought required machines with a loan of 7000 rupees and set off to lapsi candy business. The newly trained members had some challenges to overcome while implementing all their learning. Local people did not know about the existence of such candy nor had anyone tasted it before, so the initial demand was very low to none. Moreover, continuously laboring to make a product, and then again marketing by oneself seemed added hassle to the majority of the group members since all of them had subsistence farming to look after. Also, not having an understanding about the fact that it would take a while for a business to start making profits, 28 of the group members decided to discontinue the newly started business.
Although other group member discontinued their efforts, Giri didn’t want to waste his acquired skills and knowledge. Most importantly, wasting abundance of raw material, i.e. lapsi, which could be freely and easily accessed during those time seemed foolish to him. He also came to a realization that market does not readily come to an entrepreneur; one has to first make market on their own for the items produced. He took his products to many places. His initial market was the haat bazar (weekly set local markets); from there he slowly started to get recognition and profit. Other organizations further helped him in marketing by arranging him to enter into multiple exhibitions throughout Nepal where he even won some cash prize. Today, his products are high in demand locally and are even exported abroad through Saugat Griha and other individual exporters.
With the income earned from this business, he has not only been able to provide a source of livelihood for his family but also be able to afford to enroll his son for engineering (which is expensive in Nepal). He has recently built storage and production houses with a vision to diversify the products, increase his production and provide employment to others. Lastly, Giri strongly urges more people to utilize locally available raw materials as it offers higher income opportunities.