Buddha chitta, scientific name ziziphus budhensis, is one of the most lucrative vegetable products in Nepal which is sold for Rs 5000 per kilogram. Buddha chitta that was neglected by the folks until some years ago is now perhaps the highest paid. So, farmers in Banepa, Dhulikhel, Namobuddha, Timal area and other parts in Kavre district have opted for commercial farming of Buddha chitta and it has become a strong, healthy and environmentally-friendly tool for money making. The buddha chitta plant is a species of plant in the Rhamnaceae family found in and around Timal region in Kavre. Is so what is Buddha chitta? According to Wikipedia, Buddha chitta or Buddha chitta mala is also known as Bodhi mala or Buddha mala which is a string of mala beads that are readied from the natural seeds from Buddha Chitta plant. The locals have shared that they made around half a million rupee from the Buddha chitta produced in a tree each year. The income generated from Buddha chitta is sustainable and healthy because a tree planted by the farmers can yield very good production every year and the people don’t have to offer much attention except its security. The second is Buddha chitta is environmentally-friendly too. The farming of Buddha chitta not only contributes to income generation of the locals but also ensures a healthy and green environment.
With the information and its importance in the public notice, the traders have flocked the farms to buy the Buddha chitta and the farmers don’t have to bother about its publicity for the sale. Knowledgeable persons say that with the massive rise of demand for India and China, the buyers have reached the village. A garland prepared of 108 balls of Buddha chitta is sold from Rs 5000 to Rs 100,000, making the businesspersons and farmers richer in a very short span of time, the traders said. The people in Kavre district have repaid their loans, have purchased houses, have bought land plots and have enrolled their kids and grandchildren to the better schools and colleges, thanks to the income of Buddha chitta. Similarly, they have planted new saplings of Buddha chitta in the barren and sloppy land. Many people share that with the lucrative pricing of Buddha chitta, many youth have returned to their villages from the cities to begin the cultivation of Buddha chitta. The Buddhist followers and Buddhist monks use the garlands of Buddha chitta prepared from the Buddha chitta balls.
Many scholars describes Buddha chitta as a source of supreme happiness stating that ‘Bodhi’ in the Sanskrit language is referred to enlightenment while ‘chitta’ is ‘mind’. So, this is enlightened soul. As prices of the beads grew, locals from Timal village took samples of this tree species to the Kathmandu-based government herbarium centre in 2013. A team led by botanist Khem Raj Bhattarai visited the site multiple times and found that this species of the ziziphus did not match those found in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China or any other part of Nepal. The new species has now been named Ziziphus budhensis, and its discovery was published in the Indian Journal of Plant Sciences, according to a report by thethirdpole. However, the farmers shared that robbery of the Buddha chitta is a serious problem to them. “I have to hire a security person to guard the Buddha chitta from June to October because of insecurity,” a farmer told requesting anonymity.