CSIR-IHBT makes history by introducing asafoetida (Heeng)(Ferula assa-foetida seed) cultivation in Indian Himalayan region
About Asafoetida (Heeng)
- With the help of CSIR and Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng)
- It will help them to utilize vast expanses of wasteland 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
- Lack of planting material of Ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in the 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.
Which is the suitable climate for the plant?
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.