, Edited by Defined Desk | Pune |
Up to date: October 20, 2020 10:56:23 am
Asafoetida, or heeng, is a standard ingredient in most Indian kitchens –– a lot in order that the nation imports Rs 600 crore price of this pungent flavoured herb yearly.
Now, scientists at CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource, Palampur (IHBT), are on a mission to develop heeng within the Indian Himalayas. The primary sapling has been planted in Himachal Pradesh’s Kwaring village in Lahaul valley final week.
What’s asafoetida and the place is it generally cultivated?
Ferula asafoetida is a herbaceous plant of the umbelliferae household. It’s a perennial plant whose oleo gum resin is extracted from its thick roots and rhizome. The plant shops most of its vitamins inside its deep fleshy roots.
Asafoetida is endemic to Iran and Afghanistan, the primary world suppliers. It thrives in dry and chilly desert circumstances. Whereas it is vitally standard in India, some European international locations too use it for its medicinal properties.
How is India getting into into heeng cultivation?
Heeng just isn’t cultivated in India. Authorities knowledge states that India imports about 1,200 tonnes of uncooked heeng price Rs 600 crore from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Between 1963 and 1989, India as soon as tried to obtain asafoetida seeds, the ICAR – Nationwide Bureau of Plant Genetic Assets (NBPGR), New Delhi acknowledged. Nonetheless, there are not any printed outcomes of the identical.
In 2017, IHBT approached NBPGR with an experimental challenge thought to domesticate heeng within the Indian Himalayas.
For analysis, heeng seeds had been imported from Iran they usually remained within the custody of NBPGR. There, the seeds had been subjected to various checks whereas being stored underneath quarantine, to rule out fungal or infectious illnesses, chance of pest assaults and different opposed results to an space if these seeds had been cultivated in fields. This course of can take as much as two months.
After buying all regulatory approvals from Indian Council of Agriculture Analysis (ICAR), six accessions of heeng (EC966538 with Import Allow-318/2018 and EC968466-70 with Import Allow-409/2018) had been launched by IHBT, who’ve been finishing up additional R&D since 2018. At this Palampur institute, the seeds had been studied, after which put to check to see if they’d germinate underneath a managed laboratory set-up.
The problem for the scientists right here was that heeng seeds stay underneath a protracted dormant part and the speed of seed germination is only one per cent.
“Every of the six accessions imported showcased various levels of germination,” mentioned Ashok Kumar, senior scientist at IHBT and Precept Investigator of this challenge.
To sort out this dormancy, which based on scientists is a part of the plant’s adaptation approach to outlive in desert circumstances, they subjected the seeds to some particular chemical remedies.
“After about 20 days, the seeds –– all six accessions gathered from numerous areas of Iran –– germinated underneath managed laboratory circumstances,” Kumar mentioned.
In June this yr, the CSIR institute inked an MoU with the agriculture ministry of Himachal Pradesh. Collectively, the challenge might be spearheaded over the subsequent 5 years within the state.
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Which areas supply beneficial circumstances for asafoetida cultivation in India?
The primary asafoetida sapling, grown at IHBT’s Centre for Excessive Altitude Biology, was planted by IHBT director Sanjay Kumar in Kwaring village of Lahaul valley on October 15.
“We consider the geo-climatic circumstances required for cultivation of sure heeng varieties can be found in India. On a pilot foundation, we’ve began cultivation in Lahual-Spiti valley final week,” mentioned Shekhar Mande, Director Common, CSIR.
The agriculture ministry has recognized 4 areas within the valley and has distributed heeng seeds to seven farmers within the area.
Asafoetida greatest grows in dry and chilly circumstances.
“The plant can stand up to a most temperature between 35 and 40 diploma, whereas throughout winters, it may well survive in temperatures as much as minus 4 diploma. Throughout excessive climate, the plant can get dormant,” mentioned Kumar.
Areas with sandy soil, little or no moisture and annual rainfall of no more than 200mm are thought of conducive for heeng cultivation in India. Some preliminary experiments had been performed in excessive altitude districts of Mandi, Kinnaur, Kullu, Manali and Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. Apart from, the researchers plan to increase their experiments to Ladakh and Uttarakhand. The institute will present cultivation data and skilling to native farmers. Seed productions centres are additionally within the offing.
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What are among the advantages of asafoetida?
Revealed research record out a spread of medicinal properties of heeng, together with reduction for digestive, spasmodic and abdomen problems, bronchial asthma and bronchitis. The herb is often used to assist with painful or extreme bleeding throughout menstruation and pre-mature labour. Being an anti-flatulent, the herb is fed to new moms.
How promising is cultivation in India?
It is extremely early to touch upon the output of asafoetida cultivation as but. Consultants say the plant takes about 5 years to supply the extractable olego gum resin.
With the primary sapling sown this October, scientists must monitor the vegetation over the subsequent 5 years in sensible soil, climate and different circumstances. By the tip of this yr, the goal is to cowl one hectare with heeng cultivation and take it to 300 hectares in the course of the subsequent 5 years.
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