In a small district in Bihar, a state where 34% of the population is below the poverty line, a farmer has taken the nation by storm by cultivating a crop with the international market value of 1000 euros which is about Rs. 82,000 per kilo.
Being the most expensive vegetable in the world, the crop has rarely been sighted in the global market, let alone, in the national one. Amresh Kumar Singh, the farmer who has initiated this first-ever cultivation of the crop in India, belongs to Aurangabad district in Bihar.
Under the supervision of an agricultural scientist, Dr. Lal of the Indian Vegetable Research Institute, Varanasi, Amresh Kumar Singh tried and tested the saplings and on seeing positive feedback after two months of planting, he has been monitoring the gradual plant growth with the help of the scientist.
What Is This Crop And Why Is It So Expensive?
The plant is known as Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaeceae family, commonly called Hop Shoots, whose flowers are of significant market value. The various properties of the flowers help in the preparation of beer and thus the price.
The flowers, called Hop cones, impart bitterness, flavor, and act as stabilizing agents in beer manufacturing. They also give a certain amount of floral, fruity flavor, and aroma thereby earning themselves some brownie points from the brewing industry.
Apart from serving the palate, the crop is also very useful when it comes to medicinal usage. Hop shoots are used to create antibodies that help fight against TB. Moreover, Hop acids, namely, humulones and lupulones, have been shown to kill cancer cells along with blocking leukemia cells from further damaging the bones.
Plants have, since times immemorial, served as beauty products of the highest quality. Hop shoots too, help in cleansing the skin and giving it a gleam as they contain antioxidants.
Where Is This Crop Found?
European countries, especially Britain and Germany, have been cultivating Hop shoots since the 15th century and now the US is the world’s largest hop producing country followed by Germany.
The Indian government has been doing lots of research in the agricultural department for a very long time now and although Bihar has become the first state to cultivate Hop shoots, other states are not far behind.
How Will This Crop Benefit The Nation?
“I planted the saplings of this vegetable 2 months ago having brought it from the Indian Vegetable Research Institute at Varanasi. I hope it will be a grand success giving a mega turnaround in the agriculture of a state like Bihar,” Singh said.
This leads us to another thought. What if the government sets up the cultivation of this plant at various centers across the nation. It will not only help boost the agricultural market but also benefit the farmers’ income (a benefit that is the need of the hour).
Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the skincare segment of the cosmetic industry, will reap great profits. Bihar has already set the benchmark, now it’s time for other states to adopt the same and produce so much that we start exporting, thereby having a trade surplus in a large amount.
It’s time to work towards raising our GDP from its comatose state. A small, yet essential step.
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