PANCHTHAR, June 30: Yonjan Sherpa intends to sell all of his yaks and settle in the village, but this wish of his will not be fulfilled anytime soon.
Sherpa, 70, has been raising yaks in northern Phaktanglung Rural Municipality, Taplejung, for years. It was easy to sell and buy yaks. Nepali yaks were sold in Tibet, China. After the coronavirus outbreak, China closed the border and the export of yaks from Nepal to Tibet came to a halt.
Pastoralists who sell yaks are worried when the yaks would be sold. The worth of one yak was more than Rs 150,000. “I am getting old, let’s sell the yaks and go to the village. When will the yaks be sold? asks Sherpa.
The main sources of income in the Himalayan region are yaks, mountain goats and dairy products. Every yak herder in Taplejung is worried. It is unknown when the Tiptala border checkpoint that was closed following the outbreak of the coronavirus infection will reopen. As the border remains closed, the residents of the Himalayan area find it difficult to export yaks, carpets, and herbs to China.
Yaks, mountain goats, and carpets of Nepal which have been allowed to be sold in China’s Tibet are not being sold at the moment, said Cheten Sherpa, ward chairman of Phaktanglung-7.
Yaks from here used to go to China to purchase and trade. According to the herdsmen, they sell yaks every year and rear fresh yaks, but they have not been able to generate any cash in recent years.
Trade and transportation used to take place through the Tiptala Pass at an altitude of 5,132 meters. But this border checkpoint remains closed ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Due to this, the people of the mountainous areas including Mauwatar, Olangchung Gola, Yangma, Khambachen and Cheram have not been able to sell their yaks and other cattle in Tibet.
Carpets are being woven in almost every household in Olangchung Gola, but it’s not possible to sell these carpets in China at the moment.
“When will the checkpoint open and we will be able to sell our yaks? If the yaks are not sold, it will result in huge problems for us,” said Gele Sherpa of Mauwatar.