Laya sees a bumper cordy­ceps har­vest

Business Bhutan - - Money - Chen­cho Dema from Laya

The le­gal­iza­tion of cordy­ceps col­lec­tion in 2003 has be­come a game changer for the peo­ple of Laya.

This year, Laya saw a bumper cordy­ceps har­vest. A to­tal of 494 col­lec­tors col­lected 158.82kg of cordy­ceps while the govern­ment col­lected roy­alty of Nu 1,334,121.6 from the sales. Last year, 383 Layaps col­lected 121.68kg of cordy­ceps and paid roy­alty of Nu 1,004,182.62. 2012 saw a col­lec­tion of just 18kg with roy­alty of Nu 126,000 paid.

Al­though Layaps rear yaks and horses as an al­ter­na­tive source of in­come, only about one fourth of the house­holds have yaks. Cordy­ceps col­lec­tion has been the ma­jor source of in­come since 2003. It has im­proved the peo­ple’s liveli­hood dras­ti­cally.

Dorji Wangchuk, an 18-year old from Ton­gra chi­wog, said that last year he could earn only Nu 80,000 but this year he hit a jack­pot of Nu 400,000. “This year we saw a bet­ter har­vest and good col­lec­tion un­like the pre­vi­ous year,” he said.

Dorji Wangchuk along with his par­ents went for the col­lec­tion and with the money earned bought gro­ceries. The re­main­ing was de­posited in the bank.

Twenty one-year old Sonam Phuntsho started col­lect­ing cordy­ceps at the age of 19. He and his two broth­ers have per­mits to col­lect cordy­ceps and man­aged to earn Nu 150,000 while last year they earned Nu 80,000.

Pasang Nam­gay, 20, and a class V drop out from Neylu said that in a span of a month they are able to col­lect 1,000 to 1,500 pieces of cordy­ceps. “Had it not been for poor vis­i­bil­ity, we would be able to col­lect more.”From every house­hold, three peo­ple are per­mit­ted to col­lect cordy­ceps.

Nam­gay, Park Man­ager with Jigme Dorji Na­tional Park, said that cordy­ceps col­lec­tion is the main source of in­come for the Layaps. “This year we saw in­crease in the quan­tity of cordy­ceps col­lected. Every four years there is a bumper har­vest, how­ever, it de­pends on the area where the cordy­ceps are grow­ing,” he said.

Col­lec­tors are not re­stricted on the col­lec­tion of cordy­ceps but they do have a time limit of a month. On ar­rival from the col­lec­tion, the col­lec­tors have to de­clare the cordy­ceps to the near­est for­est of­fice and then they are is­sued a cer­tifi­cate of ori­gin which gives them per­mis­sion to take part in the auc­tion. A roy­alty of Nu 500 is col­lected from each col­lec­tor and an ad­di­tional Nu 10 as per­mit fee. Only those with the per­mits are al­lowed to col­lect cordy­ceps and if caught red-handed with­out the per­mit, they have to pay a fine of Nu 200 per cordy­cep.

Shingchenla, Langten­phu, Biga, Ngarithang, Mem­mary, Redupzhi, Sum­chu­phu are most vis­ited for cordy­ceps col­lec­tion.

How­ever, Shingchenla, a day-long walk from Laya is the most pop­u­lar place for col­lec­tors. There are 246 house­holds in Laya with five chi­wogs.

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