Despite not being a producer of Asafoetida (Hing), India consumes 40% of World’s total production each year. View more at #YesPahari.
Hing is produced only in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Baluchistan, Iran and Iraq but now for the first time efforts are on to produce it in Himachal Pradesh as a scientist from Bilaspur district has procured seeds of Hing from Iran. If experiment remains a success then it would change the economy of hill state as one Kg of pure Hing is sold for Rs 35,000.
It was very difficult to procure the seeds of Hing as countries producing Hing does not export its seeds. Coffee Board of India Director and former scientist Dr Vikram Sharma said that he had received the seeds for chemical characterization. He said as around one lakh seeds are available with him so he would further develop seedlings from them.
He said from one plant around 750 gms of seeds is expected and has planned to produce 20-25 kgs of seeds and to further distribute them among farmers. He said that besides Himachal Pradesh seeds would also be distributed among farmers in Uttrakhand and Kashmir.
He said in India, Hing is used in spices and in medicines but still till date no efforts have been made by any government to ensure its cultivation within the country resulting in huge amount being spent on its import. Pure Hing is sold for Rs 35,000 per kg and Sharma feels it could change the agriculture scenario of state.
As Hing is also produced in snowbound areas of Afghanistan, there is plan to plant the seeds in cold desert of Spiti valley in Lahaul-Spiti district apart from mid-Himalayan regions. He said Hing is one of the best plant spices to be cultivated in sub Himalayan region of northern part of India specifically from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and some hilly parts of Bihar states.
He said it is an international value crop having high demand in spices as well as in pharmaceutical industry but due to its less production, cost is very high. He said farmers of Northern Himalayan region of India should come forward to cultivate this most demandable spice for the upliftment of their socio-economic status and agro-horticulture developmental reforms.
“It can be cultivated along with other valuable spices like Dalchini (Cinnamon) , fruits like Avocados and international essential commodities crop like coffee plantations to make agro-horticulture more viable and flexible for poor agriculturists of above states,” he added.
He said If the Government of India takes proper initiative to establish a sub Himalayan development Board, then the barren wasteland will turn into goldmine for farmers of mid Himalayan region.
View more at #YesPahari.