Chiuri (Diploknema butyracea (Roxb.) H.J.Lam): An Economic tree for Improving Livelihood of Chepang Communities in Makwanpur, Nepal

Roshan Chikanbanjar, Umed Pun, Bhola Bhattarai, Ripu Mardan Kunwar


Background: Chepang, a semi-nomadic minority group, is dependent on common and private forest resources, Chiuri (Diploknema butyracea (Roxb.) H.J. Lam) to be precise, for livelihood. This study was carried out to understand the household economy of Chepang and evaluate the benefit of Chiuri and its by-products such as Chiuri butter, honey or seeds in Raksirang Rural Municipality (RRM), Makwanpur, Nepal.

Methods:  Primary data were collected through questionnaire surveys, interviews, informal discussions, etc. whereas the secondary data were collected through desk review.

Results: Many Chepangs (41 percent) who collect Chiuri earn an average of US$ 41.43 annually by selling Chiuri seeds, which is very low in the present market value context. People of RRM are still living under poverty with annual income of less than US$ 414.35 per household (78 percent) and food availability for < nine months (56 percent) in a year. Many of them (55 percent) extract more than 30 kg of butter and surplus butter are sold for US$ 1.65-2.49 per kg. Normally they produce butter for domestic uses. Butter is applied for muscle spasm.

Conclusions: Our result shows that Chiuri is a natural complement to the livelihood of Chepangs. Bee farming in Chiuri growing areas helps generate additional income. Beside local economy, bee and Chiuri products are folkloric for primary healthcare. Hence, Chiuri is a plant with various economic benefits. Proper management of Chepang, Chiuri and bee is an integrated approach of biodiversity conservation.

Keywords: Chepangs, Chiuri, bee farming, livelihood, collection center

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