Kupwara, Nov 3: Mushrooms are gradually becoming popular as they are rich in minerals, vitamins, very low on fat and sugar. They are good source of protein and contain many essential amino acids. It is also known to have medicinal value and certain varieties of mushrooms can inhibit growth at cancerous tumor.
Leisure time among both rural and urban populations, especially women, can be utilized effectively by involving in mushroom cultivation enterprise. Mushroom production is labour and management intensive. There is ample scope for mushroom industry to thrive successfully and can become a lucrative business for the unemployed rural youth, self-help groups, farm women who are in search of viable activities which are promising and giving good returns and an additional income source for the farmer.
Mushroom cultivation can effectively utilize the agro residues for production of protein rich food and plays crucial role in management of agro residues. Mushroom cultivation is an eco-friendly activity, as it utilizes the wastes from agriculture which are available in huge quantities and in turn produces fruiting bodies with excellent nutritional and medicinal attributes.
Story of Amina Begum and Rafiqa Begum
Amina Begum, and Rafiqa Begum, 50- and 52-years old women are involved in mushroom production from last one year. They reside at Gundimancher village of Sogam Tehsil in Kupwara district. Before starting mushroom cultivation, both were searching sustainable livelihood opportunities to augment their family income. Then they thought of doing something new independently and thus got associated with MKSP (Mahila Kissan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana)- a sub component and scheme of NRLM.
After getting awareness and trainings from Project Executive-(Sustainable Agriculture) of MKSP Sogam, they established their mushroom production unit at their residence. Initially, they started button mushroom cultivation at small scale. This year they attended a 10 days skill training programme on Button Mushroom growing under MKSP-NRLM programme during 2022-23 at Sogam. Then they established this mushroom production unit at a larger scale than earlier. This mushroom unit was provided by Department of Agriculture Sogam Kupwara at subsidized rates and credit facility in the form of loan and technical guidance to the women was provided by MKSP-NRLM Sogam.
Initially they used to harvest 30-40 kg of mushrooms per month. After training and guidance from MKSP-NRLM Sogam, they are now producing 140-150 kg of good quality button mushrooms per month. Now they are selling fresh mushrooms both locally and sending to market.
Now they have started to sell fresh mushrooms in different melas organized by Government Organizations during back to village 4 programme. Also they have started to give trainings to different SHG’s members of MKSP-NRLM.
By selling mushrooms monthly they are getting an income of Rs 35000-37,000/. They have also created employment opportunity for other members by imparting them skill through on hand trainings. In future, they are planning to start value addition in terms of dried mushroom powder and other value added products.