23rd February, 2023 Agriculture
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- For the first time in the state, the commercial cultivation of liquorice (mulethi) has been started by the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur.
- Liquorice is an important perennial shrub having sweet roots due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.
- It is used as a natural sweetener in herbal medicines, flavouring in candies and tobacco.
- It is also used in traditional medicines for treating chest and lung diseases, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney and heart diseases, coughs, low blood pressure, liver toxicity and pancreatic disorders.
- Liquorice is grown mainly in Afghanistan, while minor producing countries include Pakistan, China, Nepal and India.
- India imports 8,047 tonnes of liquorice annually from Afghanistan, China and Nepal.
- Realising the large imports in the country, it has been envisioned to extend the liquorice production area through organised cultivation after identifying the potential places in the state and achieve import substitution.
- Official data suggested that the districts of Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra, Una, Solan and Sirmaur in Hiamchal Pradesh have potential for its cultivation.