Dehradun: A mushroom cultivator from Uttrakhand’s Dehradun has devised ingenious and innovative methods of growing the edible macro-fungi, making its farming a lot more cost-effective.
26-year-old Divya Rawat, who is the founder of Soumya Foods, has also promoted her methods, thus providing a means of livelihood for many Uttrakhand residents.
“People in Uttarakhand were leaving their villages to seek jobs in cities due to no fixed source of income as the traditional farming of paddy and vegetables was not lucrative enough to promise a bright future,” said Rawat
“Looking for a solution I visited Dehradun wholesale markets and found mushrooms to be priced higher than all other vegetables. It was being sold at Rs 200 per kg and yearly price variations were told to be between Rs 200 and 400. I hit the jackpot and started working on the same. Furthermore, as mushrooms are grown indoors it prevents crop loss from natural calamities and wild animals,” she added.
Rawat then underwent training on mushroom farming from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Directorate of Mushroom Research, Solan and started her own mushroom cultivation unit.
When asked about the prerequisite capital investment she responded by saying, “The cost for the whole up is quite steep. So I made a few changes, making the entire process cost-effective. I replaced the aluminium/steel racks with bamboo racks for vertical mushroom cultivation and nylon ropes for growing mushroom via hanging method. It brought down the capital investment cost to Rs 40-50 thousand which earlier was more than Rs two lakhs.”
Another change she implemented was growing three different mushroom varieties following the seasons and natural climatic conditions of Uttarakhand. “It was done so as to take advantage of the varying temperatures. It eliminated the need for air conditioners, humidifiers or other temperature controllers.”
“We grow milky mushroom in summer as it requires 30-40 degree Celsius, post-summer when the temperatures are more moderate, we grow oyster mushroom and in winter button mushrooms are grown,” she elaborated.
Reflecting on how the recent boom in mushroom farming has impacted people’s lives “It has brought about an enormous change in my village and it is spreading to other parts of the state as well. Reverse migration is happening but it will take some time to be visible largely. At the moment, I am focused on providing the right technical and implementation guidance to the farmers who are associated with us. We are progressing rapidly every day but it is a long way to reach our ultimate destination to have a Directorate of mushroom here and make Uttarakhand the mushroom capital of India.” (ANI)