Karnali folks struggle as China closes border for export of herbs

Published On: January 31, 2023 08:15 PM NPT By: Golden Buda

JUMLA, Jan 31: Herbs are considered to be a strong source of income for the locals in the Himalayan regions of Mugu, Dolpa and Humla along with Jumla in Karnali Province. Since various prized herbs found in highlands such as yarsagumba, morel mushroom, red mushroom, kudki etc are not fetching good prices, the local farmers and traders are forced to bear losses.

Khadga Bahadur Mahat, information officer of the Division Forest Office, Jumla, said that the export of herbs to the international market is not as encouraging like in the past, as the main Chinese port for the export of herbs has been closed.

He said that due to the closure of the Chinese border, the export of herbs decreased and the international trade declined, and the valuable herbs did not get proper price.

There are eight local bodies in Jumla. Among the seven rural municipalities of Jumla, Tatopani, Guthi Chaur and Patarasi rural areas have the highest number of herbs.

According to the Division Forest Office Jumla, only 76 tons of herbs were exported in the current fiscal year 022/23. This is less than half the exports in the last two years. Khadga Bahadur Mahat, Information Officer of the Division Forest Office said that 202 tons of herbs were exported in the fiscal year 2020/21 and 201 tons in the fiscal year 2021/22.

Hundreds of farmers in Jumla have been struggling to sustain their livelihood after the collection and export of herbs were restricted due to COVID-19. Herb exports have fallen sharply this year due to lack of demand from China.

Its direct impact has been seen in the economy of Karnali. Dinesh Jung Khatri, Head of Division Forest Office Jumla, says that 22 types of herbs such as Dhupi, Chiraito, Sunpati, Pakhanbed, Sugandhwal, Vishjara, Bojho, Atis, Padamchal, Guchichew, Amalbed, Red Mushroom, and Forest Garlic are exported from this region.

According to him, due to the lack of demand from China, the price of herbs has decreased along with the collection and export.

According to the office, revenue of Rs 15, 11,975 has been collected from 76 tons of herbs in the current fiscal year. Out of which the highest revenue of Rs 1, 06,000 was collected from the export of 6 tons of Dhupi. More than Rs 3,51,000 revenue has been collected by exporting about 2.5 tons of pure sugar.

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