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Bo Khai plant in Ba Be Buffer Zone.

 

Bo Khai (Erythropalum scandens), for sale a vegetable native from tropical parts of Asia is widely mentioned as an important medicinal plant for traditional uses in relief of rheumatic pains. In Viet Nam, shop this vegetable grows mainly along the secondary forests of the northern provinces between 100 and 1500 meters in altitude.

There are two species of Bo Khai that are used in different ways. The green variety is commonly used for its nutritious properties by mountain peoples, who consume it cooked, boiled or stir-fried as a specious vegetable.  Red Bo Khai, consumed fresh, dried, or mixed with other ingredients, has medicinal uses for treating diseases related to liver, kidney, and rheumatism. These different uses and increasing demand from the cities have caused difficulties to find wild red Bo Khai which has been exploited to exhaustion.

The main actors in the value chain for this product include the planters or collectors which cover the stages of production, processing, and distribution. Traders are also involved in the distribution in markets and communes in order to reach the variety of final consumers which are households and restaurants from the district or cities like Bac Can and Hanoi.

Woman harvesting Bo Khai berries at Ba Be Buffer zone. Numerous households harvest the plant from Ba Be National park from February to September each year, most of them sell bundles of the plant to local restaurants or commune markets. Given the decline in availability in the wild, Bo Khai cultivation in households to supply for the increasing demand has successfully resulted in significant income for the families in Ba Be district and other areas.

A developed Bo Khai value chain in Ba Be National Park area represents opportunities, given the extremely high demand of the product, potential for job creation for locals, and the possibility to obtain support of capital and techniques from projects in the region. As there are already successful Bo Khai plantation experiences, the BBP project aims to contribute with a set of upgrading strategies which include conducting trainings for local Bo Khai farmers, and promote sharing of techniques from successful models in order to enhance the capacity of the farmers and create business links between all actors of the value chain.