India has started the cultivation of asafoetida, commonly known as Hing and one of the regularly used ingredients in Indian kitchens. The farmers of the Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh will be cultivating it with the efforts of the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said.
The cultivation will be done using the vast wasteland in the remote cold desert conditions of the region where the first seeding was planted on October 15 by Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT.@CSIR_IHBT) October 17, 2020
Here are all the details about the new addition to its cultivation list:How much Hing is imported into India and how much does that add to the import bill?
As asafoetida was so far not cultivated in India, the country imported around 1,200 tonnes of the high-value spice annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spent about $100 million per year for it.
According to a Times Now report, the country imported approximately 1,500 tonnes of raw hing and spent about Rs 942 crore in 2019. If India is able to grow hing, the country would save a lot on import bill and it would be self-reliant.Efforts by the CSIR-IHBT for hing cultivation and how it is cultivated?
The CSIR-IHBT institute introduced six accessions of seeds from Iran through ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR), New Delhi in October 2018.
ICAR-NBPGR confirmed that in the past thirty years, this has been the first attempt for introduction of asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) seeds in the country.
CSIR-IHBT raised the plants of hing at CeHAB, Ribling, Lahaul & Spiti, H.P. under the vigil of NBPGR.
The plant prefers cold and dry conditions for its growth and takes approximately five years for the production of oleo-gum resin in its roots, therefore cold desert areas of Indian Himalayan region are suitable for cultivation of asafoetida. Cold areas of the Himalayan region like Ladakh and certain areas of Himachal, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh are ideal places for the cultivation of hing which would also change the economic condition of people in these regions.
Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assa-foetida as an oleo-gum resin. Although there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, only Ferula assa-foetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.
India does not have Ferula assa-foetida, but other species Ferula jaeschkeana is reported from the western Himalaya (Chamba, HP), and Ferula narthex from Kashmir and Ladakh, which are not the species that yield asafoetida.
Currently, the Institute has marked 300 hectares for the cultivation, however, it can be further expanded to more if successful results is seen by farmers.
Sanjay Kumar, director, CSIR-IHBT said, "It will be cultivated in a staggered manner so that farmers in certain areas would start getting its benefit from fifth years onward before its expansion to more areas in Himachal Pradesh and subsequently in cold desert areas of other Himalayan states/UT.”