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Herb farming shows way out of poverty

Nepal, Herbfarm, herbs, organic, herb, herbal products, herbal, products, b2b, nepal herbs trade, herbal remedyDev Kumar Sunuwar. Jumla Aug. 1 (Kathmandu Post)

People of 10 VDCs in this Mid - Western district have taken to herb farming in a big way. This endeavour, which enjoys support of the Ministry of forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), is helping bail the people out5 of penury. On top of it, commercial farming of herbs has helped conserve medicinal plants that were in peril in the wild, thanks to unabated collection that was going on till 2005. The edicinal plants are in high demand in the international market and fetch good price too, says Laxmi Chandra Mahat, district project faciliator for the herb farming project.
"Apart from herb conservation, this project will be instrumental in raising the living standard of local people," says Mahat. According to statistics of the district project office, farmers have cultivated at least 10 kinds of herbs in some 1,500 hectares in Jumla.
"Cultivating crops, we used to find it hard to meet day-to-day expenses even for six months. Now that we have taken to herb farming, we hope to get a better return," says kali bahadur Thapa of Patmara VDC.
In the fiscal year 2008/09, people of patmara sold 120 kg of herbs and earned about Rs. 130,000.0 The profit motivated them and they planted herbs in some 300 hectares in their village. Taking a leaf from Jumla, the MoFSC plans to expand the herb farming project in 11 districts of four zones in three phases by 2014. The International Fund for Agriculture Development has loaned Rs 1.5 billion to the ministry for the Rs 2.17 billion project, according to Mahat.
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