Yarsa collection date advanced due to polls

- MANOJ BADU, DARCHULA

May 13, 2017-

Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA) in the Far Western Development Region has brought the yarsa collection timetable forward in view of the second phase of the local election which is scheduled to be held here on June 14. 

Accordingly, locals of Darchula have been permitted to harvest the Himalayan herb from early May, even though the management guideline allows collection only from mid-May. 

Yarsagumba is the world’s most expensive medicinal fungus. The herb can fetch as much as $100 per gram on the Chinese market, making it more expensive than gold, according to reports. 

Yarsa collection is an important money making activity for locals. In order to prevent overharvesting of the herb, the government has introduced a number of regulations. The yarsagumba management guideline regulates collectors. The authorities have framed the timetable so that collection is started at the same time throughout the country in order to make the system more regulated and organised.

“As we need people to be present during the second phase of the election, we have allowed them to conduct an early harvest,” said Bhumiraj Upadhyaya, chief conservation officer of ANCA. “Many youths will easily forget the election to go pick yarsa.”

In Darchula, there are more than a dozen collection areas, namely Vyas, Rapla, Khandeshwari, Ghusa and Sitola. Hundreds of people converge on the collection areas from the district as well as surrounding areas. The conservation area has made it mandatory to obtain a collection licence from last year. The objective of issuing licences is to make the harvest transparent and organized.

Although yarsa collectors start arriving in the district from late April, they are issued licenses from May 3. As per the guideline, a yarsa collector who lives inside the conservation area has to pay Rs500 for the licence. For people from outside the area, the fee is Rs2,000. Out-of-district collectors are charged Rs3,000 for the permit.  

This year, the conservation area started levying an additional Rs100 as recommendation charge despite protests from locals. 

ANCA has obtained permission to collect such charges from nine places in the area, namely Khaikot, Khandeshwori, Paribagad, Khalanga, Sitola, Dumling, Tusarpani, Dokhse and Gaga, according to Upadhyaya.

ANCA can detain anyone found in the collection area without a licence under the Animal Protection Act.

Published: 13-05-2017 08:21

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