India buys 85 per cent of the asafetida it needs from Afghanistan, trade between the two countries has been affected since the Taliban’s withdrawal and the supply shortage has pushed up prices.
Asafoetida prices rise
Indian cuisine is incomplete without asafoetida. Asafoetida has been used in every kitchen of India for centuries. But still the production of asafoetida has not yet started in India. There is a major reason for this. Actually, asafoetida plant grows only in extreme cold and dry weather. Asafoetida for production AfghanistanThe weather of Uzbekistan, Iran and Kazakhstan is most favorable. Traders in Khari Baoli, Delhi’s largest spice market in Asia, say that the import of asafoetida coming from Afghanistan has come down drastically. However, the import of asafoetida has resumed. But its quantity is not enough to meet the demand.
Dependence on Afghanistan for Asafoetida
India imports asafoetida 85 percent of its total requirement from Afghanistan itself. Whereas a small amount of asafoetida is imported from Uzbekistan, Iran and Kazakhstan. Now let’s come to the news of asafetida being expensive. The price of asafoetida has increased by about 30 per cent in the last two years. The maximum price has increased during the last one year. The import of asafoetida has decreased since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. A year after the Taliban took power in Kabul, India’s trade with its South Asian neighbors is slowly getting back on track. While exports from India to Afghanistan fell to $24 million in August last year, from $48 million in June. At the same time, the import figures are going up and down every month. In June, India imported $279 million from Afghanistan, of which 67 per cent was imported asafetida.
India is also an exporter of asafoetida
India also exports asafoetida. India exports asafoetida after processing it for Indians living in the US, UAE and UK. In the financial year 2021-22, India imported asafetida worth $ 104 million and exported asafetida worth $ 125 million. India has not yet recognized the Taliban government, but after closing its embassy in Kabul in August last year, India reopened it in June.
Efforts to increase asafoetida production in India
During the monsoon session in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in response to a question that the Indian government is not considering any proposal to have a bilateral trade agreement with Afghanistan. Has been. To meet the demand of asafoetida, now efforts have been started to produce asafoetida in India itself. CSIR Institute of Himalayan Bioresources Palampur is trying to grow asafoetida in the Himalayan valley. In 2020, the first plant of asafoetida has been planted in Quaring village of Lahaul Valley. It will take about five years to start producing asafoetida from its roots. The traders of Khari Baoli say that when asafetida is first harvested, its quality is not very good. But gradually after some time the quality will start improving. But it seems difficult that Indian asafoetida will be able to match Afghan asafetida. So the whole point is that till India’s bilateral trade with Afghanistan does not start as before. Till then asafoetida will remain expensive and will become more expensive with time.