JUMLA, Dec 29: Herbs have been recognized as the fundamentals of economic development in Karnali. All five districts of this zone are rich in natural resources and herbs. As collecting and selling of herbs fetch good income, more and more people are attracted toward this occupation in the recent days.
Farmers of Jumla head toward the highlands in order to collect herbs during the peak season. Hard work for a month will put food on their table for the rest of the year. Not just the youths but even the children and elderly people are busy gathering herbs in these districts. As per the details provided by the District Forest Office (DFO), Rs 3.1 million taxes were collected from herbs in this fiscal year.
As most of the children and even the teachers go to the highlands to collect herbs from mid-March to mid-July, schools are shut during this time.
Yarsagumba, paanchaunle (Datylorhiza Hatagirea), baghe jadi, ninai jadi, pakhan ved, kamal ved, bikhma, guchhi chayau (morchella mushroom), katuko, sato chini, chiraito, padam chal, wild garlic, bhut kesh, jatamasi, among others are the commonly found herbs here. By selling and exporting these herbs, locals earn Rs 100,000 to Rs 700,000 within a month. This has not just boosted the economy of the locals but has also upgraded their living standard.
Yarsagumba, an aphrodisiac herb, is sold for Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per piece. Tanka Giri of Gothichaur Rural Municipality-3 informed that he has invested Rs 40 million in the herb business this year. Giri, who has been in this business since the last two decades, expressed his fear of losing herbs due to increased smuggling. Besides that, global warming is also affecting the growth and production of herbs here, he informed.
According to DFO, Jumla, 1,262 quintals of herbs were collected this year. Bharat Bahadur Budha Thapa, assistant officer at the DFO, informed that the official records showed decrease in collection of herbs this year due to illegal collection and smuggling. None of the farmers in Jumla are involved in cultivation of herbs. They collect what is already there and sell it to the customers for low price. As stated by the locals, if the government encourages herbs farming in Jumla and other districts, not many youths will have to remain jobless. The harvested herb can be exported to other countries such as India, China among others.
Caption: Collected herbs being transported out of the district.