CSIR-IHBT makes history by introducing asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation in Indian Himalayan region.
Due to efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, farmers of the Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh are taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng).
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 USD per year.
CSIR-IHBT has now introduced six accessions of seeds from Iran through ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR), New Delhi in October, 2018.
In the past thirty years, this has been the first attempt for introduction of asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) seeds in the country.
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.