Talk about a magic bean. Guar, a tiny, durable legume grown in Rajasthan, one of the poorest regions of India, has proven to be a moneymaker thanks to the fracking boom in the US. Indian farmers in the arid region who once grew the bean to help feed their families now find that international companies are interested in buying the crop, allowing them to afford luxuries like tractors, stone houses, and more colorful weddings, reports the New York Times.
Indian farmers grow about 85% of the world's supply of guar, which, when ground up, can "stiffen water" and help in the fracking process, explains the Times. But it's not all sunny forecasts for these farmers. Efforts to grow guar in other parts of the world, including the US, are already under way, and one energy expert warns that the fracking boom could slow, or an alternative for the bean could be developed, bringing an end to the guar frenzy.