Dhan Bahadur Basnet, SDS social mobilizer and the first to test claims of the profitability of urine in Sotang, started with spinach. The spinach grew faster and greener, and when cooked, tasted softer and more flavorful. Initially he would offer the spinach to his visitors and ask for their opinion, without telling them of the secret ingredient. Then he tried it on tomatoes, an uncommon fruit in the village, selling up to $460 U.S. dollars (NPR 40,000) worth, or double the average annual income in Sotang – in one season alone.
Word soon spread of his gains, and other farmers started following his lead.
This year, his garden is full of round chillis, kilos of which get carried four days by foot to the Namche bazaar to satisfy the Sherpa communities’ appetite for spice. His dream for next year is to use urine to grow turmeric, an herb now imported from India. There’s no telling, he said, how far he can go.
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.