Cultivation of Heeng started in India

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Heeng (asafoetida) has been a major part of Indian cuisine since time immemorial. Heeng is one of the top condiments and is a high value spice crop in India, which last year imported about 1500 tonnes of raw asafoetida from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spent Rs 942 crore. But one of the most valuable spices of the world could not take its root, literally, in the country till last week when it was taken up for cultivation for the first time by farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh with the help of agro-technology developed by a Palampur-based CSIR institution.

The first seedling of asafoetida was planted in village Kwaring of Lahaul valley to mark initiation of its cultivation in India. The plant prefers cold and dry conditions for its growth. So, it can be cultivated in cold desert areas of Indian Himalayan region — Ladakh and certain areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

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According to Sanjay Kumar, director, CSIR-IHBT, it will cost farmers nearly Rs 3 lakh per hectares over next five years and give them a net return of minimum Rs 10 lakh from fifth year onwards. He also said that heeng cultivation will be a game changer for farmers in cold desert region of the country.

Source – Times of India

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