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An Effort to Reduce Adverse Effects of Wild Mushroom Consumption in Nepal

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A Girl Chopping Collected wild mushroom. Photo by Tika Ram Aryal.

Mushroom poisoning is a great problem in Nepal

Tika Ram Aryal
Department of Science and Environment Education, Tribhuwan University, Prithivi Narayan Campus,
Pokhara, Nepal
E-mail:tikaramaryal2000 (at) yahoo.com

Abstract

Mushroom poisoning is a great problem in Nepal. Every year dozens of people died and hundred of people fall sick due to consumption of poisonous wild mushroom. Local people have been using wild mushroom in their diet as well as a source of income, but they do not have proper scientific knowledge about the identification of edible and poisoning mushrooms. This practice has caused severe poisoning and even death. Here is no any responsible organization to reduce the death of due to consumption of wild mushroom. An effort has been made with the aim to reduce casualty of people due to consumption of wild mushroom through different awareness programmes, training, and brochure distribution at the most vulnerable parts of Nepal which were identified from the published report in various national newspapers in 2008 and 2009.

Introduction

Nepal is a land-lock Himalayan country with natural biodiversity. It has been regarded as “The natural showroom of biodiversity “because of its geographical ecological and climate variation resulting in environmental diversity and gave a unique wealth in the form of various green and non-green vegetation. The different ethnic groups in Nepal possess rich knowledge of local Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) as a cultural heritage; these are listed as food, medicine, and on various socio-religious purposes. In Nepal various mycophagous group such as Serpa, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Tharu, Danuwer, Newar,Kami, Damai, Sarki ,Chepang, etc. are directly concerned with the collection & consumption of mushroom historically due to mushroom are also locally trade as minor forest product at local market. Out of 110 species edible mushroom, 40 species are sold in local market every season.

Mushroom poisoning problems are not new to Nepal. Every year dozens of people die; hundreds are admitted to Hospital for treatment, while hundreds more rely on local treatments. During the rainy season, poor people (the so-called “lower caste”) rely on wild mushrooms as a much needed food source and also as a flavorful addition to their diet. Although they have vast knowledge about the regional wild mushrooms, sometimes serious accidents occur. Whole families have been wiped out by consuming poisonous wild mushrooms. Many are not afraid of using wild mushrooms despite knowledge of the risks associated with the poisonous effects of some mushrooms. Likewise, many local people are confident that they can recognize poisonous mushrooms even though they may have
witnessed their neighbors dying due to consumption of wild poisonous mushrooms.

Undocumented and unrecorded mushroom poisonings are much more common than the published incidents because so many cases occur in very remote areas. News reporters are unable to reach many victims in remote areas in order to collect information. At the same time, there is vast knowledge about wild mushrooms among local users, and this may be far beyond that of professional mycologists. Therefore, it is of acute importance to document and conserve traditional local knowledge before it is lost permanently.

See the complete paper here. Large download. 6 MB.

Newspaper article in Nepalese about Tika’s work here.

3 comments

1 Md. Abul Hossain { 12.18.10 at 9:18 pm }

Any possibility of publicity by local Mycologists using ‘electronic media’ e.g. TV, to identify poisonous mushroom by the common people of Nepal?

2 Tika Ram Aryal { 12.23.10 at 1:55 am }

There are various types of poisonous mushroom. Accurate identification is impossible from electronic media but awareness from electronic media can play very important role to reduce the consumption of wild mushroom .

3 Ganesh Katuwal { 02.27.11 at 1:28 am }

Dear Sir,
I am Ganesh Katuwal From Kathmandu and permanent resident of Badaharamal-01, Siraha,Nepal

I am very intresting to work in the field of Agriculture espically Mushroom.But I haven’t any knowledge about the Mushroom farming.So i request to you for giving a idea to me.
Please contact me in this number 9741096588.
I am wating for your fevaurable responce.

Regard’s
Ganesh Katuwal