LAMJUNG: Manang district of western Nepal exported 350 kg yarsagumba in the period of a year. This is almost a double amount of the prized medicinal herb supplied from the district last year.

Yarsagumba is a fruiting body that is formed by the fusion of parasitic fungus Cordyceps sinensis and the host moth larvae.

According to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), only 180 kg yarsagumba was sold from the district last year.

Locals, however, opine that many pickers have smuggled the herb without registering the trade at concerned agencies like ACAP.

A kilo of the herb, also called the Himalayan Viagra, costs around Rs 4 million. Yarsagumba pickers sell it to contractors at the rate of Rs 2.5 million to Rs 2.9 million per kilo.

Most contractors are from Tibet of China. Some of them even charter choppers to high hills of Manang, where the herbs are found.