On the hindsight Everest Floriculture could have been a GEM, for an impoverished country like Nepal. As an architect in the civil infrastructure of the project I still get the pangs when my path veers into that territory of Nayapati,Sunderijal, on the bank of river Bagmati, an area of more than 150 Ropani and the infrastructure of whooping 50,000 sqm. The mammoth landfill work of the project depleted two small hillocks nearby to raise the site by three meter with an embankment to stop the inundation which did happen in the early stage of work. With and Almost four years of planning designing and Execution made it possible to send the first lot of roses out of the country around 2006 and it continued for few years before its demise around 2010. The ambitious project, enthusiastic investors and the owner and the work itself melted into oblivion in a decade, but the footprint still remains, a big chunk of landmass with the disheveled infrastructure from the Google eye should put every politicians and thinkers of this country to shame.
But why it failed a big question we might all need to answer. May be this country does not need any ambitious project or the entire economy is simply pegged into the unprecedented land value, which makes every investment in the infrastructure redundant. Or we prepare our people for growing roses in mammoth scale outside the country only. Or the bilateral relation of Nepal with the Israel or other nations and the protection of investment by Nepalese entrepreneurs are out of the bounds of Nepalese law enforcement and national agriculture policies.
But Why I am thinking about this and being an architect should I limit my role to development of infrastructure only. But we all in the development of alternative technology should first find the right balance on the priorities of Nepal government policy so as make the investment of any kind feasible in the long run. An alternative approach can always enhance productivity and promote sustainable growth if it is accepted at the larger level of public domain. But again it needs additional skilled technical manpower to support the growth, where the intervention of government by investment, promotion and association with international agencies for technology exchange and support plays a pivotal role.
Everest Floriculture have failed may be because we were not ready for it then or it was not a timely investment as the country was already in a turmoil with the Maoist insurgency. I am not sure if it can revived but it could have been a big starting point for the large scale rose production in Nepal with the seven big green house with the state of art technology embedded in its production system.
Creating the infrastructure in that scale was a big challenge for me as well as the owners of Everest Floriculture starting from the land pulling work. We visited quite a few areas including Chovar before we really settled into that Nayapati site. It is an oblong site flanked by a elevated landmass on the eastern side along the bank of Bagmati river. The actual site was a low land ideal for rice plantation with occasional flooding. The construction of the project of this nature in the low land along the flood plain was quite complicated and as it required the construction of spurs and earthen embankment to divert the water flow.
I am not an economist to elaborate on the details of it’s untimely demise, I thought it would be rather wise to talk about how a green house works. For me as I understand the green house makes it possible to control the internal ambience of the infrastructure contained there- in. The irrigation system can be a bit different with the controlled water supply as in the drip irrigation and also the injection of fertilizers can also be channeled through the same piping arrangements. The slope and internal environment of the green house plain makes it possible to create and control the overall management and growth of the plants. The ventilation system of the interior can be very tricky as there might be a requirement for a forced ventilation. The roof of the green house absorbs a lot of heat and UV rays, which needs to be regulated to a very large extent, the UV controlled plastic sheets have really revolutionized the way green house functions. And further more proper water management plays a pivotal role in the overall functions of the green house. Places like Kathmandu requires a continuous water supply arrangement through additional storage system, which can be further augmented through rain water harvesting in addition to deep tube wells. The quality of water needs a proper assessment with the provision of adequate filtrations system. The storm water management can be funneled into the water storage system so as to regulate the irrigation system of the plant.
I am writing the story of an ambitious project after it’s demise, and I strongly feel the annual production capacity of Everest Floriculture and the investment made there in and the lost opportunities on the employment generation along with the skilled manpower development are all the missed opportunities for the whole nation. I still wonder if this project can be revived but it should be learning lesson for the agro-investment in Nepal.
And lastly being an architect of the project I can vouch that we have the knowledge and experience to create infrastructures of this kind, but the skills we all entrepreneurs and professionals have should be protected by the government and utilized for the development of agro- business in Nepal.