Asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation
#GS3 #Agriculture #FarmingPractices
Due to efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, a historical shift in farming practices is in the offing with farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region. CSIR-IHBT brought in seeds of asafoetida and developed its agro-technology.
- Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high value spice crop in India. India imports about 1200 tonnes of raw asafoetida annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spends approximately 100 million USDper year.
- Lack of planting material of Ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in cultivation of this crop.
- 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, but only Ferula assa-foetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.
- In India, we do 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.