By Kokila Dhakal Ilam, Feb. 25: Farmers in Ilam are now happy after Kucho (broom), which has been a reliable source of income for them, started fetching higher price this year. The broom, which the farmers sold at Rs. 150 per kg from their home a month ago, is now being sold at Rs. 100 to Rs. 130 per kg. The price of the broom is the highest of all time. Krishna Poudyal, senior vice-president of Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ilam, said that the price of broom has been much better this season than in the previous years. At the beginning of the season, this year, the farmers themselves were able to sell broom from home at the rate of Rs. 150 per kg. Poudyal said that the farmers of Ilam have benefited a lot from the high price of brooms this year. Last year, they sold the broom at the rate of Rs. 80 per kg. “COVID-19 has not had any impact on broom exports as consumption is good in India,” he said. Poudyal said that 2,000 quintals of local broom is exported from Ilam's Biblante Bazaar alone. According to him, a farmer in the area has been selling up to 50 quintals of broom. In previous years, a kg of the broom used to cost only Rs. 20 per kg and due to the low price farmers had stopped paying attention to its production. Laksha Kafle, a farmer from Pyang, said that the farmers started selling the broom left in the warehouse after the price went up. The local broom supplied from Ilam reached Jhapa in Nepal and Siliguri, Bangalore and other Indian cities. The broom from Ilam will be processed in Dhulabari, Jhapa, and exported only after grading. Kucho is sold in the markets and villages of the district including Fikkal, Harkate, Biblante, Nayabazaar, Chisapani, Mangalbare, Danabari and Tinghare. It is produced in most of the villages of the district including Sumbek, Soyak, Sulubung, Maimjhuwa and Panchakanya. Moreover, the farmers of Kanyam and Kolbung have been earning three times the usual income by selling grass and stalks, including Amliso, as firewood. The broom plants can grow on slope as well as flat areas and after removing the broom, the plant is fed to the cattle.