The cold desert areas of five Himalayan states, including Himachal, are on the threshold of a new era of prosperity, following the approval of Rs 1,260 crore for the cultivation of sea buckthorn, a wonder plant with multiple qualities, by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Sea buckthorn is a plant. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits are used to make medicine. Sea buckthorn is used for heart health, skin conditions, swelling (inflammation), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses.
In foods, sea buckthorn berries are used to make jellies, juices, purees, and sauces. In manufacturing, sea buckthorn is used in cosmetics and anti-aging products. Sea buckthorn contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and other active ingredients. It might have some activity against stomach and intestinal ulcers, and heartburn symptoms.
This project was submitted to the Union ministry by the Sea buckthorn Association of India based at CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, in February last year. Under the project, sea buckthorn plantation will be raised on 2,500 hectares in Himachal, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir and 500 hectares in Sikkim and Arunachal over 10 years.
The plantation of sea buckthorns also known as “chharma” will be undertaken on 250 hectares in Lahaul & Spiti and Kinnaur districts in five years. ‘Chharma’ would be planted on 50 hectares in 2021-22, said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during his Budget speech.
On the recommendations of the Ministry of Finance, Anand Kumar Prabhakar, Deputy Inspector General of Forest, had asked Principal Chief Conservators of Forest of the five states to prepare project proposals on sea buckthorn.
The university has also imported 14 mild thorny and high-yielding Russian sea buckthorn varieties, including table variety, which will be introduced on small-scale under a scheme of the Horticulture Department on experimental basis. PTI