Cordyceps has long been known as "soft gold" and is harvested in May and June. In addition to Ngari, six other cities including 40 counties in Tibet also grow cordyceps.
Starting from late April, various areas of Tibet have entered cordyceps harvest season. The market shows that Shannan and Nyingchi are doing better than other areas in output. In 2015, a total of 63 tons of cordyceps was harvested in Tibet, about 30 tons in 2016, and 67 tons in 2017.
Sangda Tsering, a herder in Wumatang township of Damxung County, part of Lhasa City, said his eight-people family earns around 200 thousand yuan annually from harvesting cordyceps.
"In 2017, we each earned around 30 thousand yuan from harvesting cordyceps,"said Tsering. Cordyceps-digging has become the biggest income source for his family apart from herding. The price of cordyceps changes every year, depending on output and market changes.
The development of logistics has also helped cordyceps more easily reach other areas outside the plateau. On May 22nd, SF Express's Tibetan branch said that during April of 2018, they have shipped over 9000 orders of cordyceps from Lhasa, Chamdo, Shannan, Shigatse, Nagqu, Nyingchi, and other locations, with more than 10 thousand kg of cordyceps shipped.
SF Express also said May is the peak season for cordyceps harvesting in areas such as Nagqu and Damxung. Their company has chosen to pack cordyceps with ice bag to maintain freshness, and have also enabled next-day delivery for destinations like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.