A Maoist Agricultural Center In Nepal

By Neil Horning

On the way to Chorkate, Gorkha, about a 3 hour bus ride from the district headquarters, a conspicuous facility covered with red flags is noticeable by the roadside.

Nammuna Agricultural Center is run by the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as an agricultural cooperative, intended to teach agricultural skills and collective farming to locals and serve as a model for similar facilities nation wide. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s childhood village overlooks the center.

The cooperative raises buffalo and pigs, farms fish and grows rice and vegetables. According to members, Sarmila Bagle and Hari Khanal, 20-30 Maoist cadres work in the center, with locals (paid 100-400 Rupees or about $1.50 to $6.00 a day) comprising an additional half of the workforce. Gender balance rests at 50%. Cooking is done on a rotational basis involving both men and women, and decisions are made through semi-regular meetings of the members.
Agricultural cooperatives are the first step in a Maoist development strategy known as collectivization, in where the manpower from individual plots is pooled to increase efficiency of production. In China, first land titles were distributed to peasants as part of a land reform process. Next, peasants with individual plots were encouraged to voluntarily join agricultural cooperatives which were later combined into massive communes. The initial stages of this plan met with measured success, while the later stages during the great leap forward have been blamed for massive famines and are the subject of much controversy.


Waiting for the bus in Chorkate. The Maoists have built a bus shelter dedicated to local martyrs here.


A viewpoint overlooking the cooperative


The beautiful valley surrounding the facility.


A closer view from above


The main hall.


Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao oversee whatever is broadcast from the speaker, left. For the record, Mao rated Stalin at 70%.


Member, Hari Khanal, presents the wall of martyrs.


Maoist development plans.


Member, Sarmila Bagle, presented with an opportunity to add to the report. Neither Hari nor Sarmila were interested in giving their personal stories, but Sarmila was a student known to one of the local teachers. A rough translation of her writing:

– Our party is the one true communist party in Nepal
– We follow the people who have the ideas to develop Nepal
– We have plans to give food, clothing, shelter, health care, and employment to everyone.
– All the people are our followers, and we need to do everything for the people.
– By developing a small piece of land we want to develop the whole country.


The buffalo stay here for the night.


Following Hari through the fields.


The fish farm. This was divided into ponds with minnows, small, medium and large size fish.


Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s childhood village is somewhere up on this hill.


The pigs here don’t seem anymore equal that usual.


Fish eat the pig excrement, which flows out of pipes in the pens.


Local cooperative members on their way to work


Local villagers working in the fields


The kitchen. Cooking duties are rotated and shared between men and women. This is a sharp departure from tradition in South Asia


Benches outside the facility. A circular communal eating center is visible, right.


A new facility under construction.


Nammuna workers use a handsaw.


Workers take a break from sawing.

Horning is an American with expertise in Nepali Maoists.

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