Landscape of Jatamansi distribution sites in Nepal. Photo: ANSAB

Landscape of Jatamansi distribution sites in Nepal. Photo: ANSAB


Published 2 October 2019


Building capacity for the sustainable production and trade in CITES Appendix-II listed Jatamansi

October 2019, Kathmandu, Nepal–Questions surrounding the implementation of CITES1 for Appendix-II listed medicinal and aromatic plant species were among the many subjects discussed at the recent 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) to the Convention. One of the over 800 species listed in the CITES Appendices is Jatamansi Nardostachys jatamansi, or Spikenard, harvested in the high-altitude Himalayan mountains of Nepal. It has a wide array of applications, but is predominantly traded for use in cosmetics, aromatherapy, food, and health products.

A local collector drying jatamansi rhizomes

A collaborative project “Succeeding with CITES: Sustainable and equitable Jatamansi trade from Nepal”, that is being implemented by ANSAB,2 TRAFFIC, and other partners with the endorsement of the Ministry of Forests and Environment, and with support from the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative, is promoting legal and sustainable international trade in Jatamansi, through use of the international best practice FairWild Standard and certification scheme.

A four-days training of trainers (ToT) on FairWild Certification, Sustainable Forest Management, and Harvesting & Value Addition Complying with the FairWild Standard was held in July with ANSAB in the Jumla district of Nepal where 15 individuals were trained on the FairWild Standard and the certification scheme. Other topics covered sustainability issues related to wild collection and market access, and how to deliver onward training to local harvesters and producer-enterprises in implementing FairWild Standard requirements on the ground.

The trainers included representatives from community forests, sub-divisional forest offices, and local partners, along with ANSAB field staff and local level forestry graduates. Overall, the project aims to deliver the trainings to over 2,000 collectors.

Speaking at the closing session of the training, Mr. Dinesh Jung Khatri, Divisional Forest Officer of Jumla said that “Certification is an important tool for sustainable resource management, and FairWild certification is relevant to the forest management units and harvesters in Nepal as it incorporates both fair and wild components. However, as other certification schemes, FairWild is technical and it might be a bit challenging for the forest managers and harvesters at community level to implement the standard without support from an organisation like ANSAB which has long experience in enterprise-oriented sustainable forest management and presence in the Karnali region. Development of the trainers along with the provision of the Standard in the Nepali language is a stepping stone for initiating FairWild in Nepal through increased capacity of the forest managers and the development of a forest management plan complying with FairWild Standard requirements.”

Mr. Gokarna Chaulagain, Chairperson of the Jumla District Chapter of the Federation of the Community Forest Users Nepal (FECOFUN) said: “Meeting forest certification standards addresses forest governance, among other factors, that has remained a key challenge for sustainable forest management and equitable utilisation of forest products. We hope the current implementation of FairWild Certification with Jatamansi in the Karnali region will provide a useful lesson for its replication in other plants and other parts of the country as well.”

Mr. Puri Chandra Devkota, Senior Vice Chairperson of the District Chapter of the Federation of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) said: “As local collectors and enterprises are facing difficulties in market accessibility and stability, FairWild certification with its consideration of the premium fund could serve as a unique approach for fair trade of the medicinal and aromatic plants benefitting the local community.”

Concluding the training, Dr. Netra P. Timsina, ANSAB’s Vice-chairperson said that “We are so glad for the support provided by the local government, forest offices, and other relevant stakeholders for the implementation of the project level activities in Jumla and Mugu districts. While I am personally impressed by the equity and the benefit sharing mechanism of the FairWild Standard for sustainable and equitable trade of wild plants, I believe implementation of the Standard ensures all the social, ecological and economic components of sustainable development. After this training we will mobilise eight trainees, four each from Jumla and Mugu districts, as local resource persons to capacitate the harvesters and producer-enterprises in the districts in implementing the FairWild Standard requirements. A mobilisation plan for local resource persons in the two districts has been developed.”

In July, ANSAB further provided hands on training on resource inventory and assessment in the project districts in order to provide practical orientation to the representatives of the participating community forests. Eight members have been trained, who have been assisting the project team to carry out an inventory of Jatamansi in their forests.

In August, the project supported the upgrade of a processing facility in Jumla district, that allowed the continuation of an enterprise which had been closed for some years. With the repair, maintenance, upgrade, and efficiency testing support from the project, the processing unit has resumed its operation, easing the extraction of oil from medicinal and aromatic plants including Jatamansi for individual collectors and the community forests in the area. The processing enterprise was formally inaugurated on 6th September 2019 by the Minister of the Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment of the Karnali province.

The Jatamansi harvesting period is currently ongoing presenting opportunities for practical application of some of the newly acquired skills in the field.


1 CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

2 ANSAB is the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources

About the Darwin Initiative

Funded by the UK Government through the Darwin Initiative.

The Darwin Initiative is a UK government programme with a focus on biodiversity projects. 

About FairWild

The increasing demand for wild plants—as ingredients for food, cosmetics, well-being and medicinal products—poses major ecological and social challenges. The pressure on potentially vulnerable plant species can endanger local ecosystems and the livelihoods of collectors, who often belong to the poorest social groups in the countries of origin.

As a response to these concerns, the FairWild Foundation is working with partners worldwide to improve the conservation, management and sustainable use of wild plants in trade, as well as the livelihoods of rural harvesters involved in wild collection. TRAFFIC has supported the development of the FairWild Standard, and now hosts the organization’s Secretariat under a partnership agreement.