Himachal offered beyond tourism and adventure sports: Amshu

Helping cultivation of traditional crops and procuring Himalayan herbs

Dinesh Kanwar

Himachal Pradesh has much to offer beyond tourism and adventure sports that can enrich economy of people and add to healthy living too. This was stated by Amshu a startup entrepreneur from Banglore after attending Investors Meet at Dharmasala. Amshu is encouraging farmers in Kullu and Lahul and Spiti for traditional organic farming. She said that it was during an excursion into Lahul and Spiti , she came to know about the hidden treasure of crops being cultivated and herbs that grow in forests in the region. She said that she took some sample of verities including Sea Buckthorn, Rose Hip, Red Rice and Honey with here and get them scientifically examined for their food and medicinal values.

Amshu said that  the amazing values of these products encouraged her to start collection and marketing by setting up a startup under government scheme. She got her project incubated at IIT Mandi and has successfully implemented it as Thapsu Foods with office at Manali. She said it initially it was difficult to convince farmers who had left or reduced the cultivation of traditional crops like Red Rice, Buck Wheat, Chia and Himalyan Barlay. She said that once they were convinced for the purchase of their produce they started cultivation. She said that over 200 farmers across Kullu and Lahul and Spiti had joined the group and improving their economy.

Significantly, the woman from South India had not only identified the valuable produces of Himachal but had also written success story that could inspire many to adopt the path to prosperity.

Amshu said that presently her company was procuring and selling produces including Sea Buckthorn, Rose Hip, Finger Millet, Red Rice, Amaranth , Chia, Honey, Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Buck Wheat and Barley. Connecting her visit to Investor Meet she said that it was good opportunity to interact with various business houses and explore new areas for investment. She said that she wanted to expand her activity to other parts of Himachal Pradesh and looking forward for government support in her endeavour.

Describing the medicinal value of Rose hip Amshu said that the round portion of the wild rose flower help in preventing and treating colds, flu, and vitamin C deficiencies. Rose hip is also used for diarrhoea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention gout, back and sciatica, diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow and quenching thirst.

The product of Rose Hip is sold at Rs. 2000 per kilogram. She said that Sea Buckthorn berry pulp and juice are great source of nutrition for body which has the ability to replace an entire days nutrition for a person. She said that Tibetan medicine practitioners had been using Seabuckthorn to cure different body ailments.

Red Rice  is minerals rich natural grain cultivated and sourced from the farmers in the higher Himalayan ranges. She said that the redness of the grain is due to the bran, which is formed due to rich content of Iron, Magnesium and Potassium. This reduces inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer, help in weight management, strengthen metabolism and treat migraine, she added.

She said that the Himalayan raw honey produced in this region is a super food in itself. This honey has anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The wild bee honey collected by the locals is full of Antioxidants,  helps heal wounds using osmosis, alleviate cold and flu symptoms, contains propolis and boosts immune system, she added.