Yarcha Gumba : A conflict within itself

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     Yarcha Gumba

                        Yarcha Gumba which is half insect and half plant found on meadows above 3500m is a rare medicinal herb that grows in Nepal. The collection of herb was legalized in 2058 B.S (2001 A.D) Generally season for collection of herbs begin around may after melting of snow which usually last for two months.

Use

     Believe to be Chinese ancestor medicine discovered around 15th century. Similar to discovery of coffee, once eaten by goat and getting stimulated, yak grazed on meadows got stronger and people came to know about existence of herbs.

Collection

  • Located on ‘Patan or Lak'(local language for hills and meadows)
  • Locally called Kira, Jeevan buti, Cheyou
  • Found on high altitude, tough job to extract with high vision power to detect
  • Uncertain trail and lack of proper path
  • No time to set up camp as collection starts from early morning to late morning
  • Uncertain weather like snowfall, landslide, heavy downpour
  • Risk of damages on herbs as it leads to significant decrement on price
Collection of Yarcha at Lek

   Collection of Yarcha at Lek

Collector

  • Every employee and student around region join the expedition
  • Different age group people children, adult, old folks
  • Many small, medium and large business man along with middle man come for buying and transporting herbs
  • Not only collector, businessman but entertainer, facilitator, small shop install, portable shop operate with full swing

Adversity during collection

            Risk                                                                           Crime

  • Lek (Altitude Sickness)                               – Attacks Among Self
  • Coldness                                                           – Loots
  • Falling off from cliff                                      – Cartel
  • Avalanche                                                         – Misuse
  • Landslides

Market : Main market is China

Social Issues

  • Sustainability : The collection is random and mis-managed so in long-term more exploitation will lead to extinction of herb.
  • Solid waste Management: The collectors used fast food for daily food and throw plastic bags around meadows. The human waste and temporary living can cause significant accumulation of solid waste in region.
  • Leaving Cultivation : People have given up their traditional cultivation and entirely relying on herb collection for income generation. Dependency of people on collection has increased while it is bringing end to traditional locally available jobs.
  • Maintenance of Life cycle of herbs: There is no any proper records or survey regarding status and conservation of herbs. How can we protect it from over encroachment by people and how its life cycle be promoted.

Positive Impacts

  • Employment: Collection, transportation and selling has been seasonal jobs for local people during seasons but they are giving up their jobs and entirely relying on collection for whole year budget management.
  • Increase in Life Standard: The cash flow has significantly improved living standard of people but raised alarm about sustainability of life. There is major challenge life is only better till there is herb in meadows.
  • Development of Local Area: Obviously local area has been developed. Better access to road, health, education e.t.c can be seen.

Negative Impacts

  • Self Grading: There is no proper regulatory body for grading of herbs. Self grading is helping middle man so local people are not actually not getting pay how much they actually have to get.
  • Collectors not actual receiver of benefits: The local people get significantly less money than other businessman involve in this sectors.
  • Environmental impacts no study: There is no proper environmental survey regarding growth ,impact, availability and life cycle of herbs.
  • No Accountability: There is no documentation regarding collection, distribution and use of herbs.

Suggestions:

  • Shifting Collection: The areas should be separated every year so we can give chance to grow herbs in particular areas. This will help to preserve environmental aspects that herbs play for ecological diversity.
  • Artificial Culture: Conducting scientific research so we can artificially culture herbs for commercial use.
  • Confirmation of Use: Use of yarcha gumba is still vague so proper study should be done so we can take it as commercial herbs.
  • Limitation of collection: We should restrict and make possibility of only collection on limited amount.

    Image source : HimaliSanchar

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