2020, Volume 23, Paper 10
Chiraito: From Rural Community to Global Market
Raj B Shahi – Master in Agribusiness (Global economics), The University of Adelaide
A value chain analysis of the Swertia Chirayita (Chiraito) cottage industry highlights its importance as a major source of income for rural households in the Eastern region of Nepal. Processed as dried or whole plant extract, Chiraito is traded domestically and in international markets as an ingredient in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. This has made it a high foreign exchange earner for Nepal. China is a rapidly growing market as Chinese buyers offer 25-45 per cent higher prices than other buyers. However, the Chiraito price fluctuates widely. In this paper the major constraints to economic sustainability and related issues are explored and highlighted. Some interventions by actors in the Chiraito value chain that could improve overall efficiency and market responsiveness are discussed. In addition, the industry can invest in increasing cost effectiveness and farm productivity. Innovative techniques such as block chain technology, cooperative farming models, coordinated marketing and introduction of organic certification all have the potential to provide improvements. For concerned stakeholders to support the marginalized, poor and disadvantaged rural people further, value addition of Chiraito is recommended at both the village and regional levels.
Key words: Chiraito, Nepal, value chain, coordination
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