Dhupi oil raises job hope for far-flung Taplejung

TAPLEJUNG: Local residents of rural Dhunsa VDC in Taplejung have started to extract scented oil from the leaves of Dhupi (Juniperus communis), a high-altitude tree.

Many local youths who were in a process to emigrate to foreign countries searching for greener pasture, have been staying up, following the new enterprising venture initiated by the local people.

''We lived with these trees all our lives but we did not know these trees give oil,'' Local Chhenen Sherpa, said.

“We earn Rs 15,000 a month by collecting Dhupi leaves,'' Lakpa Sherpa, another local resident, said.

At least 60 households of Dhunsa VDC have now found their job of collecting the leaves, and ferrying them to the local factory for oil production.

The indigenous oil industry became possible only when a machine was put in place in the VDC with the financial assistance of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project, two years ago.

One kilo of Dhupi oil fetches Rs 2,500 rupees, Chairman of the Oil Production Committee, Pema Lama, said, adding, “Our economic condition is improving gradually after we started producing Dhupi oil.''

Manager of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Sujit Kumar Shrestha said the demand for the oil has increased in the local market.

According to him, denizens of Dhunsa have sold at least 200 kilos of oil till date.

Forest resource expert Deepesh Pyakurel said there were many unexploited local resources from which oil could be produced.

Those included are Sunpati, Jatamashi and Bojo, he added.

Taplejung and the adjacent mountain districts are gifted with abundant forest resources which could potentially supply scented oils and other forest products in the international market.

According to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, there is high demand of scented oil in Germany, France, USA and the UK. The fact that these industrialised nations have flourishing cosmetic industries could be the potential importers of such products from Nepal, experts said.