To address the sustainability and legality of the international trade of the medicinal plant species Nardostachys Grandiflora commonly known as Jatamansi,  a new innovative project formally launched supported by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative in Kathmandu, Nepal. ProFound consultant Jolanda van Hal attended the event to kickstart the project:

Great to see the strong support in Nepal from private sector companies and governmental organisations such as the department of plant and resources and ministry of forestry and environment. Bodes well for our aim to develop equitable and sustainable jatamansi trade from Nepal

Collaborators under the project include the Department of Plant Resources and private companies, who will help producers and harvesters to conduct Jatamansi resource inventories in pilot collection areas in Jumla and Mugu districts, implement monitoring measures and update local management plans. At least 2,000 harvesters will receive appropriate training, which ties will be established with already committed responsible business companies in Europe.

The benefits of Jatamansi

Jatamansi is one of Nepal’s most commercially valuable and heavily exploited species. Its rhizomes (horizontal root systems) are used to extract oil, which is well-known for aromatherapy and cosmetics sectors around the world. Between 100-500 tonnes of Jatamansi rhizomes are sourced from high-altitude Himalayan regions and traded annually for medicinal and cosmetic use. The harvest of Jatamansi provides at least 15,000 people with an average of 25% of their annual income.

Jatamansi’s Decline and the Legal Consequences 

Jatamansi populations have been declining due to over harvesting for export and habitat loss, putting species at risk, leading to Jatamansi’s inclusion in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (CITES). In 2017, the Government adopted an Act aimed at strengthening CITES implementation that unintentionally banned the export of Jatamansi. The Ministry of Forests and Environment has since proposed to Parliament that they amend the Act to allow CITES, which would re-enforce trade and re-establish an important income source for local harvesters.

Succeeding with CITES

The project “Succeeding with CITES: Sustainable and equitable Jatamansi trade from Nepal”, which will run till 2021, aims to facilitate the change in legislative context of Nepal to enable sustainable and legal trade in CITES-listed species. Through FairWild standards and certification schemes, which verifies the sustainability and equity of harvesting and trading practices in wild-harvested plants, the project will deliver a market-based model for sustainable and equitable Jatamansi trade from Nepal. This is expected to help address the combined threats to local incomes, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and declining access to natural resources linked to the over harvesting of medicinal species.

 

The assistance of FairWild principles and robust measures introduced through the project will help traders, collectors and CITES Management Authorities to implement management plans leading to smoother, more traceable and sustainable international trade. – Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s Programme Leader – Medicinal Plants