Non-wood forest products fetch good price at auction in Pema Gatshel

In Pema Gatshel, a farmers’ group has earned better prices for non-wood forest products this time at a recently held auction. Although the farmers have been collecting non-wood forest products as a source of income, they were unable to fetch good prices until now. The Department of Forests and Park Services’ Divisional Range Office in the district held the auction for the first time in the community.

Norbugang Shingmin Thoenkay Detshen is a farmers’ group that collects non-wood forest products. The group formed about a decade ago started by collecting Piplamool, a traditional ayurvedic herb derived from the roots of long pepper plant.

A few years later, they also began collecting Pouzoulzia, a flowering plant of the nettle family, soft broom, Rubia, locally known as tsoed and Knema plant locally known as Durka known for medicinal properties.

Until now, they have been selling the products to buyers from the neighboring countries but were unable to fetch the expected rates.

“Our group participated for the first time in the auction in Pema Gatshel. We could have earned even better rates if more businessmen took part in the auction. Nonetheless, we are happy that we could fetch good prices for our products. Our members could make a good income,” said Khenrab Dorji, Treasurer of Norbugang Shingmin Thoenkay Detshen.

During the auction, the group earned Nu 235 for a kilogram of Piplamool, more than Nu 65 for a kilogram of Pouzoulzia and Nu 135 for a kilogram of Durka.

The group’s chairperson said even the soft broom earned a good price this time. They fetched Nu 36 for a bundle of soft broom.

“We planted 170 bamboo and Yula plants last year. Currently, we have cultivated 50 to 60 thousand agarwood plants,” said Dhendup, Chairperson of Norbugang Shingmin Thoenkay Detshen.

Since last year, the group has started nurturing non-wood plants near their collection centre.

To ensure it remains a sustainable venture, the group plans to continue planting different types of plants on leased state land. In addition, they are also learning how to weave bamboo products to increase their income and improve their livelihood.

The group sold 35 kilogrammes of Piplamool, more than 620 kilogrammes of Pouzoulzia, 55 kilogrammes of Durka and close to 900 bundles of soft broom.

There are more than 20 members in the group.

Thinley Dorji, Pema Gatshel

Edited by Phub Gyem

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