Lamjung, May 3
With the onset of Yarsagumba collecting season, human settlements of Manang have assumed a deserted look with most of the villagers taking to the highlands to collect the prized herb.
Besides the residents of Manang, thousands of people from adjoining districts such as Gorkha, Lamjung and Kaski have also set out for the yarsa hunt.
As per past records, over 300 kg of the Himalayan viagra is collected every year in the highlands of the district.
“Every year more than Rs 1 billion worth of yarsa is collected in the district.
Each kg of the herb fetches up to Rs 2.5 million in the market and we’ve been imposing tax on yarsa collectors for the past few years now,” said Local Development Officer Krishna Prasad Dhital.
He added that the collected yarsa is exported abroad via Tibet of China. According to Chief District Officer of Manang Bhimkanta Sharma, his office has allowed the collection in Nar and Fu from April 21 this year.
“In the first phase, we distributed permits to collect the herb in Nar and Fu villages. Similar permits will be issued for Manang, Tanki, and Khangsar VDCs in May/June in the second phase,” he informed, urging locals to start the collection only in accordance with the phase-wise schedule.
Although trading in the herb has been a source of income for thousands of people, handling those who take to yarsa collection and the skirmishes that arise occasionally pose challenges to the authorities in managing yarsa collection.
To cite a case in point, seven persons, who had taken to Manang from Gorkha for yarsa collection, were murdered by locals in Nar VDC a few years back.
A version of this article appears in print on May 04, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.