From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Cultivation of heeng
Mains level : Paper 3- Heeng cultivation in India
Farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh are taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region.
Try this PYQ:
Q.Which one of the following reflects back more sunlight as compared to other three?
(a) Sand desert
(b) Paddy crop land
(c) Land covered with fresh snow
(d) Prairie land
Asafoetida cultivation in India
- Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high-value spice crop in India.
- Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assafoetida as an oleo-gum resin.
- Although, there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, but only Ferula asafoetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.
Why cultivate it?
- Heeng is not cultivated in India.
- Government data states that India imports about 1,200 tonnes of raw heeng worth Rs 600 crore from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Regions for its cultivation
- Asafoetida best grows in dry and cold conditions.
- The plant can withstand a maximum temperature between 35 and 40 degree, whereas during winters, it can survive in temperatures up to minus 4 degree.
- During extreme weather, the plant can get dormant.
- Regions with sandy soil, very little moisture and annual rainfall of not more than 200mm are considered conducive for heeng cultivation in India.