'Charma' emerges as tribal crop in Himachal
Charma (Sea buck thorn) also called 'jewel of the Himalayan cold desert' is becoming an important crop of barren and frequent land sliding tribal areas of this hill state as multiple agencies were promoting its cultivation.
Talking to UNI, Director of Himalayan Forest Research Institute Shimla, Dr B R R Singh said that Charma, (Tibetan name) could be an alternative for agro-economic and ecological security in the fragile eco-system as institutes are promoting its use for sustainable agriculture utilisation in high altitude regions, where people have no other source of livelihood.
He said that Sea buck thorn, a natural crop having unique medicinal, economical and ecological properties, covers about 4000 hactare areas in Spiti valley of Lahaul Spiti district, many parts of Kinnuar, Pangi valley in Chamba, Taklaich area of Shimla. Number of self-help groups were engaged in its cultivation, production and processing.
To sustain the life at such high altitudes, Defence Research Development Organisations(DRDO) was promoting Charma production and its processing for ecological and security need as this deciduous shrub could withstand extreme temperature ranges from -40°C to +40°C and adapts very well in cold deserts.
Various other agencies were giving logistic support to boost the production and promote the products after involving local as it was used as raw material for in making food items like pickle, jam, sauces, beverages, cosmetic and medicine etc. having high demand in Industrial areas like Delhi and Noida.
Charma is richest source of vitamin 'C' also contains Vitamin A, B, D and E . The fruit pulp and seeds provide high quality medicinal oil.