Mushroom : A Slowly Opening up an Alternative Livelihood Opportunity for Struggling Farmers

Mushroom : A Slowly Opening up an Alternative Livelihood Opportunity for Struggling Farmers

The North-east India is primarily an agrarian region with over 70% engaged in farming in a method or another. However, rising desertification, flooding and other climate-related risks have led to a decline in rural incomes and yields alike. for several farmers, cultivation is not any longer a lucrative opportunity – they farm thanks to the absence of other options.

Mushrooms, however, are slowly opening up an alternate livelihood opportunity for struggling farmers. Their growing popularity as a “superfood” has led to rising market interest within the product. Nutritious, an honest source of vitamins (B), particularly niacin, riboflavin and protein, mushrooms are low fat and low carb. This makes them a beautiful alternative to meat-based protein sources.

In the North-east, most mushrooms in markets are grown in sterile conditions. the kinds of mushrooms generally sold are button mushrooms, shitake and oyster mushrooms. Outside of those formal markets, however, mushrooms are a highly coveted commodity, gathered largely through foraging. For several indigenous communities within the region, wild edible mushrooms form a staple a part of the diet and contribute to an outsized portion of protein content required for normal growth and development.

The Opportunity to Grow

Mushroom production is one among the various critical commercial steps towards the diversification of agriculture-based microbial technology for large-scale recycling of agro-wastes in India. It relieves the pressure on arable land and minimizes impact on the forests and native biodiversity since it cultivates in indoor spaces.

Critically, because the North-east battles the matter of hunger and poor nutrition, mushrooms represent an easy means of enriching local diets and improving nutrition.

The popularity of mushrooms within the North-east, thanks to their appearance within the traditional cuisines of varied communities, makes it a highly attractive product for farmers. High demand and high value, both economic and nutritive, makes it a possible source of livelihood for the north-eastern landscape of India. on the average , a kilo of oyster mushrooms retails at INR 200 within the local markets of rural Assam. This represents a chance to extend incomes by INR 20,000 monthly as one mushroom cultivation unit produces up to 100 kilos per month.

Mushrooms in action: the case of Baligaon village

In 2019, five mushroom incubation units were found out within the Baligaon Miri village as how to secure food and livelihoods. This community participatory project helps empower communities and increasing their self-sustainability by providing health benefits. The units are run and managed by women, with about ten women managing one unit and caring for the spawns. In 2020, the units harvested 250 kgs of mushrooms and increased the community’s income by INR 50,000.

On the entire , the village households saw a mean increase of up to fifteen in their incomes. Women took the lead and saw an astonishing expansion of their economic opportunities. By managing the mushroom cultivation units, with minimal to no disruption of their regular schedules, their overall incomes increased by 50% monthly . Dusila Mili, an entrepreneur involved one among these units, found that the added income came with a bonus. The waste leftover from mushroom cultivation is a bio-fertilizer, thereby reducing the necessity to shop for chemical fertilizer and increasing her savings on top of the added income.

The Challenges & the Future

Identifying edible mushroom species, outside the regulated few already being sold in formal markets are difficult. Some mushroom species are toxic, even lethally so. Separating edible from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail – there’s no single trait by which toxic mushrooms are often identified. Neither is there one by which the foremost edible mushrooms are often identified. Careful scientific assessment can safely make this distinction but requires both time and specialist skills to try to to so, outside the realm of indigenous knowledge of mushroom species.

Mushroom spawns also vary in terms of inputs and care required. Oyster mushrooms are easy to cultivate, but other species are often difficult. Meanwhile, poor quality spawns diminish the earning potential of a unit. For rural communities, access to spawns is that the biggest challenge during a mushroom cultivation endeavour. Wild species foraged locally may have spawning potential, but without research; they continue to be a coffee volume opportunity.

For mushrooms to become a meaningful livelihood for communities within the North-east, greater investment in mushroom biodiversity research is required – to spot edible mushrooms also as wild species which may be domesticated and commercially spawned. Robust value chains, with quality spawning centres, got to be established to reinforce access to spawns for growing. Investment is required , as well, to assist rural entrepreneurs with the initial seed cost of fixing growing and processing units needed to form them market-ready.

Mushroom cultivation is a simple low-hanging fruit for the North-east to unravel the dual problems of rural livelihoods and poor nutrition. Led by women entrepreneurs, it can even increase economic gender parity. A lucrative opportunity for livelihoods that minimizes forest dependency, its future depends on our willingness to act now.

source :- krishi jagran


Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a fungus, a bit like apples are the fruiting bodies of an fruit tree . A mushroom may be a quite fungus with the Latin name of Agaricus bisporus. Other cultivated mushrooms within the Netherlands are the oyster fungus (Pleurotus ostreatus) and therefore the shiitake (Japanese mushroom) (Lentinula edodes).

In the vegetable kingdom the mushroom is ranked with the heterotrophic organisms (lower plants). In contrast to the upper , green plants, these heterotrophs aren’t capable of photosynthesis. Fungi are the scavengers of nature. In mushroom cultivation too, waste products like manure manure , straw, gypsum and waste water (from their own composting) are wont to produce a high-quality substrate from which the mushrooms will grow. Ammonia is removed by means of an ammonia washer from the method air before it’s returned to nature. Even the ammonia from the air is employed as a source of nitrogen in composting. The fungus, also called mycelium, uses the compost as a source of energy for its combustion, during which energy is released that’s used for growth.

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