Herb farming in decline in eastern hilly districts

PANCHTHAR: In lack of market, herb farming has begun to decline in the upper-hilly regions of Panchthar, Ilam and Taplejung districts.

The declining market of Chiraito, Lothsalla, and Satuwa have frustrated the farmers who had started the herb farming instead of traditional crops including paddy and Maize.

With the drop in the sales of herbs, farmers are now compelled to look for alternatives. Not only Satuwa and Chiraito, the market value of herbs like Kutki and Majitho has also dropped.

The value of all the herbs has fallen, claimed Sabin Baniya, a herb farmer of Sidingwa Rural Municipality in Taplejung district. Baniya further argued that Kuti which was sold at Rs 18,00 per kilogram has fallen to Rs 12,00, adding that the merchants in India and China have stopped importing the herb. Similarly, the Majitho herb which used to be priced at Rs 150 per kg had fallen to Rs 65 per kg last year however it had stagnant this year, Baniya said.

According to Jeevan Yadav of Division Forest Office, Taplejung, the number of discount invoices for the herb trading has been decreasing. Of late, local farmers have neither supplied the herbs to the market nor the buyers have gone to the village in search of Chiraito.

Chiraito is not being processed in the country and it is also not among 17 herbs in the list to export, informed Foreign Trade and Export Promotion Centre.