According to several media reports, a farmer from Bihar has started the cultivation of a unique vegetable that is sold at a very high price in the international market. The reports claim that Amresh Singh, a 38-year old farmer from Karamdih village under Navinagar block, had started the cultivation of a vegetable named ‘hop-shoots (humulus-lupulus) on a trial basis in Aurangabad district of Bihar. One kilogram of this vegetable reportedly costs around Rs 1 lakh.
Intermediate-pass Amresh Singh is the first person to grow the vegetable on 5 kathas of land
According to the New Indian Express, Amresh Singh who is an intermediate-pass from St. Columbus College, Hazaribagh is the first person to start hop-shoots cultivation on 5 kathas of land. The vegetable used to be sold for 1000 pounds per kg in the international market about six years ago. It is rare to find in Indian market and is bought by placing a special order. 60 per cent of the vegetable’s cultivation has been successful as told by Singh.
Hop-shoots cultivation should be promoted by the government, says Singh
Singh said that if PM Modi made a special arrangement for the promotion and cultivation of hop shoots, the farmers would earn 10 times more than their current forms of agriculture within a span of about 2 years. Agricultural scientist Dr Lal of the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Varanasi has been supervising the cultivation of hop-shoots. “I have planted the saplings of this vegetable two months ago after having brought it from the Indian Vegetable Research Institute at Varanasi. I hope it will be a grand success and turnaround agriculture in Bihar too”, Singh said.
Hop-shoots is used in beverage making and medicine
Singh told that the fruit and stem of hop-shoots are used in beverage making, beer making and for medical purposes such as in preparing antibiotics. The medicine prepared from the stem of hop-shoots is said to have a high curative effect in the treatment of Tuberculosis (TB).
“Its flower is called ho-cones or strobile, which is used as a stability agent in the making of beer. The rest of the twigs are used for food and medicine purposes”, Singh said. For its richness of antioxidants, the vegetable is used in European countries for keeping the skin young and glowing. Singh also grows many other medicinal and aromatic plants. “In the farming sector, taking a risk with the self-confidence ultimately helps the farmer to win. I have taken the risk for experimenting with cultivation of hop-shoot in Bihar and hope, it will set a benchmark”, Singh said.
Hop-shoots is effective in killing cancer cells in the human body
Hop-shoots was reportedly discovered in the early 11th century when it was used as a flavouring agent in beer, as per the Indian Express article. It then came to be used in food and medicines. The vegetable has acids called humulones and lupulones in it that is said to kill cancer cells in the human body. It is also used in medicines for improving the digestive system, as a relaxant in depression, anxiety, as an analgesic and for curing insomnia. Hop-shoots are cultivated in European countries like Britain, Germany. Its cultivation had started in Himachal Pradesh but it was not successful as its high price made it difficult to be sold.
Report says they could not find the farm
After several media houses reported on the farming of the crop by Amresh Singh, a report by Jagaran on 2nd April claimed that the reports are false, as they could locate neither the farm nor the crop. The report said that they visited the place as mentioned in the reports, but could not find the farm. Jagaran claims that the officials of the Agriculture department were shocked after seeing the reports, and they were not aware of the crop being cultivated in the area.
The report also said that they found that there is no scientist named Dr Lal at Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, and the institution has not developed any seed for the crop. Interestingly, the report also claimed that crop seen in the photographs is not hop-shoot, but a simple search on the Internet shows that it is a wrong claim, as the crop is indeed hop-shoot, and it is actually a very expensive crop. According to a Guardian report, it costs €1,000 a kilo, which would be more then ₹80,000.