Yarcha collectors return empty-handed

- Bhim Bahadur Singh, JAJARKOT

Jul 4, 2014-

For the residents of Jajarkot who embarked on a precarious journey to the highlands of Dolpa to collect Yarchagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) this year, the enterprise resulted in a  disappointment. Yarcha harvest was poor this time, and many people who had taken loan to cover their travel and accommodation expenses had to return home empty- handed. They had hoped to pay back their creditors with the money earned from selling Yarcha.   

Ram Bahadur Rasaili from Ragda village had taken a loan so that he and his family members could travel to Sisol in Dolpa, pick the highly prized Yarcha, and sell them for a good profit. The Rasailis returned after spending Rs 15,000 borrowed in their village.  Dilli Bahadur Singh of Sakla village also returned home with a debt of Rs 15,000 from the highlands of Ghotansi in Dolpa. Likewise, the five-member family of Mohan Sunar of Bijeshwori-9, Rukum have returned after losing Rs 50,000 through the course of the journey.

While many returned empty-handed, burdened with debt, and physical ailments, half a dozen of were not even lucky enough to make it back. Police said Mahendra Bahadur Rokaya, 16, of Painka-6, Sher Bhadur Singh, 30, of Dhime-9, Nar Bahadur Rokaya, 27, of Ragda-4, and Tak Bahadur Gharti of Rokayagaun-8, among others lost their lives during their exodus. While a gang of armed robbers killed Gharti, some lost their lives in an avalanche while others succumbed to various illnesses, police said.

Like them, many of those making the perilous journey lamented about not having sufficient money to seek medical treatment even at Kagmara highlands in Dolpa. Recalling his escape from death, Ram Bahadur said he lost as all of his savings in the journey, and had to return home burdened with debt. According to Ram Bahadur, most of those who returned re suffering from headaches, leg and chest pains, fever, eyesore, and cough.

Meanwhile, Dharma Raj Thapa of Suwakot, Sakla-4 became a victim to a gang of armed robbers who made off with Rs 80,000, which he had earned from the sale. Over a dozen Yarcha collectors had lost their hard-earned money to armed bandits.

Overall, this year did not bode well for thousands of Yarchagumba collectors. Bishnu KC of Khagenkot said the residents habituated to the lucrative trade received a hard blow this harvest season. Many people returned worrying about the debt that they had to pay. “There were barely anyone who made less than Rs 50,000 from Yarcha sale in the previous years,” he said.


Published: 05-07-2014 09:02

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