People of Rapla

The people of Rapla VDC, Darchula lived hand to mouth for at least six months out of every year. They had grown accustomed to hardships as their main form of income was Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) and medicinal plants which is a cut throat market. The people of Rapla VDC’s only relief came from the prospects of Yarshagumba collection. Yarshagumba is a rare commodity with a developing demand, but its collection is time consuming and labor intensive. The people of Rapla VDC used to receive 30-50 thousand per kg from Yarshagumba. The money was a welcome relief to their strained lives, but was hardly enough for all of the hard work and long hours invested in the collection.

ANSAB’s CMAPSL project initiative provided the collectors with vital Yarshagumba marketing information. The collectors, now empowered, began bargaining with the traders who had once held a tight monopoly on pricing and marketing. The traders begain paying 75-80 thousand rupees for one kg of Yarsagumba. The once poor collectors are now able to live comfortably for the entire year on their income from Yarsagumba. Many of the collectors were able to invest in their future, purchasing items such as solar panels, cows, goats, or land for agriculture. Others were able to pay off thier previous local debts. The Dumling and Numjung CFUGs have now made a plan to establish a mini hydropower plant with money earned from Yarsagumba. The Numjung CFUG has already completed the feasibility study of the mini hydropower plant and has shown that the nearby water resource can produce 6 mega watts of electricity. Thus, access to marketing information has helped the collectors and communities for their livelihood improvement and community development.