Herb farming increases the income of Nepal’s farmers

Locals of Prangbung VDC in the district have been attracted towards medicinal herb farming with ‘good return on their investment’.

Deu Prakash Tamang of Prangbung-7 said apart from Rs 35,000 he earned from the sale of saplings of various medicinal herbs like Satuwa (Paris polyphylla), he made Rs 135,000 selling Chiraito (Swertia) in a year.

With a promising income, Tamang is now planning to grow medicinal herbs on more area of his farm. He hopes to earn more than Rs 400,000 next year by producing more than 1,200 kg Chiraito.

Local resident Bishnu Jabegu said that many people in Prangbung VDC-6, 7 and 8 have been earning between Rs 100,000 and Rs 400,000 a year since switching over to medicinal herb farming.

This has also lifted the living standards of the local people. Tamang used to find it hard to support his family of eight. Not anymore. “Now apart from running household chores, we have replaced our thatched roof with corrugated tin. And all five of our children go to private schools in Phidim and Ilam,” said Tamang’s wife Jasodha, referring to their improved status.

Attracted by the fulfilling herb business more locals have taken to the herb farming.

Maita Bahadur Jabegu purchased a plot in Ilam for Rs 1 million with the income from the farming. “We hardly survived with income from corn and potato farming earlier. Thanks to the income from medicinal herb farming, we can now afford to send children to a good school,” Maita Bahadur said.

Sunil Bantawa of local NGO Deepjyoti Club, which is helping locals with farming, said that medicinal herbs worth more than Rs 20 million are exported from the villages every year. An estimated 60,000kg of Chiraito is produced in Prangbung VDC alone every year.

- Courtesy of Kantipur Business