CSIR-IHBT has taken the initiaitve of cultivating the spice in Lahaul valley, Himachal Pradesh
An important part of the Indian cuisine, hing or asafoetida – the spice that adds a lot of flavour and aroma to the food to date was not indigenous. As a recent development, in a first time, asafoetida will be grown in India. The CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) has taken the initiative of cultivating the spice in Lahaul valley Himachal Pradesh.
Reportedly, India has been importing approximately 1200 tonnes of raw asafoetida every year from Middle Eastern countries like Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan which costed the country a whopping 100 million USD per year. India consumes 40% of the world’s hing.
IHBT brought in the seeds of Ferula asafoetida plants in India and developed its agro-technology to start cultivating it here. On October 15, the first seedling of asafoetida was planted by Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT, at farmer’s field in village Kwaring of Lahaul valley.
“Due to the efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, the 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 asafetida (heeng) to utilise vast expanses of wasteland in the cold desert conditions of the region,” the statement released by CSIR read.
The hing saplings will be planted on 500 hectares of the 1,250 acres of wasteland where nothing else will grow.