Bajhang residents begin cultivation amidst ban on Yarsagumba collection

BAJHANG: Residents of Surma Rural Municipality in Bajhang district have begun cultivating land to grow vegetables and cereals after a ban -- owing to nationwide lockdown enforced to contain coronavirus -- was imposed on collection of Yarsagumba.

Yarsagumba collectors used to visit highland meadows to collect the rare herb in order to make their income.

Owing to the prohibitory order on Yarsagumba picking, the lands left fallow for years have now been cultivated, according to 55-year-old Tikhya Bohara of Surma Rural Municipality in the district.

It has been nearly two decades since people started walking up the mountains to collect the lucrative herb, said Bohara. As the sale of the herb gives huge return, the slanted lands were left almost unused. "Yarshagumba is a major means of income for the locals who are now left with no other choice but to plow the lands to grow vegetables and cereals," added Bohara.

All wards in the rural municipality have begun planting potatoes, millets and beans. According to the rural municipality chair Nar Bahadur Bohara, "Amid virus fear, collection of the herb has been banned this year, leaving many to opt for agricultural activities."