ICIMOD: China, India, Nepal and Bhutan agreed to develop a broad policy guideline that integrates best policy practices from the region on the sustainable management and trade of Yartsa Guenbub (cordyceps senesis).

The policy would provide guidance to customise individual country’s policies and practices based on the country’s context.

This was agreed during a recent regional workshop on ‘tracking options for sustainable management and trade on Yartsa Guenbub’ attended by government representatives from Nepal, Bhutan, India and China.

For sustainable management of cordyceps, member countries of the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) should also develop communication materials for communities, which could guide them on harvesting methods, camp sites, waste management and post-harvest care.

Presenting the resolution at the closing yesterday, ICIMOD’s livelihood specialist, Dr Tashi Dorji said accessing market and market information is important to ensure systematic transboundary cordyceps trade.

“It is important to initiate long term monitoring using a harmonised protocol and standards to generate comparable data, which are crucial for planning sustainable management interventions,” he said.

On August 9, the 18 participants witnessed the government organised auctioning of cordyceps at Tsento gewog in Paro.

After witnessing the auctioning system, where buyers and sellers are brought together, and following discussions at the workshop, China and Nepal has felt the need to introduce auctioning.

Dr Tashi Dorji said, each member country has their own policies and guidelines to manage cordyceps and other natural resources.

Some of the best practices shared at the workshop were, capacity building and having a system such as certificate of origin, issuing of permits, and registration of collectors and traders.

“Each member country agreed on the need to monitor the production or status of Yartsa Guenbub and other natural resources at KSL,” Dr Tashi Dorji said.

However, under secretary of Nepal’s ministry of forest and soil conservation and the nation coordinator for KSL conservation and development initiative, Anand Bhandari said without knowing the science and nature of cordyceps, the bigger challenge lies ahead in synchronising the development of cordyceps in terms of eco-system management and livelihood improvement.

“I believe cordyceps is a mysterious product of nature and without knowing its natural phenomenon, we could be damaging rather than managing cordyceps,” he said. “If science fails, cordyceps sustainability will fail.”

Producing a descriptive document and a synthesis report on policy, practices and science that can be used directly by various countries for sustainable management and trade of Yartsa Guenbub is the way forward, he said.

Nirmala Pokhrel