Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

Cordyceps collectors of Gasa are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases to ensure safety once the collectors leave for a month-long collection period.

Lunana gewog issued the permits to around 150 collectors on May 25. The collectors left for collection on June 1.

According to Lunana Gup Kaka, people above 60 years and pregnant women weren’t issued permit. “This year, because of Covid-19, we wanted additional security for safety.”

Thirteen desuups to around 11 foresters accompanied the collectors. “Most of the desuups are teachers and dzonkhag agriculture officials,” said Kaka.

Similar health checkups were also conducted for collectors of Khamoed and Khatoed gewogs. While Khatoed gewog issued permit to 28 individuals on June 2, Khamoed gewog issued permits to around 55 individuals yesterday.

According to Khatoed Gup Thinley Wangdi, the people were advised to leave together for collection. This, he said, was to ensure safety.

“We think that if they move together, it would also be convenient for the foresters to ensure that the safety guidelines are followed,” Thinley Wangdi said.

Meanwhile, the collectors of Khamoed and Khatoed are worried because the collection area is still covered in snow.

According to Khamoed Gup Kinley Penjor, collecting cordyceps in snow would be difficult. “People are worried. Last year, people couldn’t even bring anything to auction.”

If collection becomes a challenge due to weather, the gups said that an extension for collection time would be permitted.

“It is already difficult for people of Khamoed and Khatoed because the collection area is difficult and sometimes inaccessible.