Illegal kidney donors turning to rudrakshya farming in Kavre district

Thirty-seven-year-old Muna (name changed) of Hokse, Panchkhal Municipality-8, Kavre, planted 15 saplings of rudrakshya, a tree species whose fruits are used as prayer beads by Hindus, in June. Now, she spends her day tending to the saplings.

Having sold one of her kidneys in India after being lured by kidney smugglers about four years ago, Muna has now adopted rudrakshya farming as the main source of her income. “I bought the saplings at Rs 75 each. I am thinking of planting 25 more,” she said.

Thirteen persons in the village, who had sold one of their kidneys in India in the past for money, have adopted rudrakshya farming. The saplings in the garden of three of the farmers have started bearing fruits while in the case of other farmers the saplings are growing.

People, who sold their organ due to poverty and are now farming rudrakshya, are hopeful this will sustain their livelihood. Rudrakshya farming was first introduced in the district by a few farmers in Panchkhal Municipality’s Hokse and Bhumlu Rural Municipality’s Dolalghat.

The yield of the farmers is bought by traders who reach the villages to purchase rudrakshya beads. Local Rammaya Tamang said farmers of Hokse were selling around 10,000 kg rudrakshya seeds in Pashupati temple area every year. “One can earn up to Rs 20,000 from just two rudrakshya trees in a year,” said Tamang.

As per data with a non-government organisation, 214 persons of Hokse and 56 of Mandandeupur Municipality’s Jyamdi had sold their kidney in India through kidney smugglers just until a few years ago. The organ trading racket here has dissipated in recent years after police arrested 10 persons involved in the smuggling racket about six years ago.