'I did not know mushrooms can be cultivated in a room'

Last Updated 22 April 2014, 18:51 IST

A one-month long training in life skills and vocational skills imparted jointly by the zilla panchayat, Jilla Saksharatha Samithi, Jana Shikshana Trust and gram panchayats, have helped Vrunda to start cultivating mushrooms on a small-scale.

Vrunda, a Gram Panchayat member at Meramajalu Gram Panchayat in Bantwal has undergone three-day training at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hesaraghatta in Bangalore, as a part of the vocational skills training. The training instilled confidence to cultivate mushroom.  From then on there’s been no looking back. She supplied her first crop of three kg of oyster mushrooms to friends and relatives.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, she not only radiates energy and confidence, but tells you that where there is a mushroom there is a way for health. It was only a month ago that she ventured into mushroom cultivation and she was able to sell around 20 kgs of mushrooms.

“It is most suitable for women, requires minimum investment and gives quick returns and the market offers good prices,” she said.

“With the help of members at Madari Grama Vikasa Kendra, she started mushroom cultivation. I cultivate oyster mushrooms. There are 24 varieties of mushrooms that can be cultivated at home. Oyster mushrooms are tastier and more nutritious,” she declares.
“The mushrooms are thriving in a small room in my house. I feel happy when I see it start growing after 20 days of incubation,” she said with a smile on her face.

“Spawns of mushrooms are sown in polythene bags using a dried straw bits. The mushroom beds are incubated in a room. In about 20 days, the first crop of mushrooms can be harvested. I have 36 mushroom beds in my house. I can get two to three kgs of mushrooms from one mushroom bed when it reached 30 to 35 days. The mushroom fetches Rs 175 per kg in the market,” she said.

“Right now, I am popularising mushroom among my friends, relatives and neighbours. I can not sell mushrooms for market price among them. If given an opportunity, I am ready to sell it in the market,” she beams with confidence.

“Before sowing the mushroom spawns, the straws are boiled in hot water for half an hour and then dried to remove all the insects or any kinds of fungus in it. I have purchased a vessel to boil straws. In one kg of mushroom spawns, I can make five to six beds of mushroom. At the same time, cool weather should be maintained for the growth of mushroom by putting water on the floor of the room when mushroom beds are hung,” she said.

The only problem is that mushroom spawns are not available in Mangalore. It has to be brought from Bangalore.

“Till I attended training, I thought that mushroom is grown on soil during monsoon. It was only after I attended the training, I realised that mushroom can be cultivated inside a room as well,” she said.

(Published 22 April 2014, 18:51 IST)

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