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Entrepreneurship Development in Mushroom Cultivation
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma12/13/2017 10:36:46 PM
In India, majority of population still dependent on agriculture and it is estimated that more than 600 million tonnes of agro-wastes are produced annually. The agriculture, which is an engine of growth and development and a significant contributor to national economy, has been greatly influenced by the process of globalisation. There is a matter great concern about imbalance of total production, the urban-rural divide, national food security and economic access to food. The agricultural strategy in the country seeks to bridge the product and production gaps. The policy envisages promotion of sustainable agriculture through a regionally differentiated approach, improvement in the input use efficiency, development and transfer of technology. There is a need to focus on technology generation and its application in agro-ecological or social circumstances.
Mushrooms are the fleshy-to-tough structures which are the part of the reproductive phase of a certain group of fungi. Mushroom cultivation was started in the 16th century but on a commercial scale it was started in Europe in 17th century and many farms for the mushroom production were established. India with the diverse climate conditions and abundant agricultural wastes has been producing the mushroom from the last four decades. Commercial mushroom cultivation in India has started recently and growing mushroom under controlled condition is of recent origin. Its popularity is increasing day by day and it has become a business which is export-oriented. Today mushroom cultivation has been taken up commercially in states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, etc. (during winter months) while earlier it was confined to Himachal Pradesh, J&K and other hilly areas. Mushroom is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fibres, minerals, folic acid and is a good source of iron for anemic patients and is described as one of the best options to convert agro-wastes into quality proteins. Mushroom can be taken by the diabetic and heart patients as it has low calorific value. Mushrooms are of different types: a) Button Mushroom (Agricus bisporus) b) Dhingri (Pleurortus) c) Milky mushroom (Calocybe indica). Of all the types, button mushroom is the most popular one (85%). Mushroom cultivation can be done at cottage and small-scale levels besides large-scale farming. Mushroom cultivation provides option for income and employment generation specially for the educated youths and women without any major arable resources. China claims to grow 60 types of mushrooms and the reported production of all mushrooms put together was 18.2 million tonnes in 2008 which was around 70% of world production.
Mushroom cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir was started in 1964 by the Department of Agriculture, Lalmandi, Srinagar and work on edible fungi was taken by RRL at Srinagar. Presently around 600 tons of mushrooms is being produced annually in Jammu and Kashmir especially from Jammu, Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur. There is immense scope for round the year mushroom cultivation in Jammu region because of diverse agro-climatic conditions and availability of raw material. The farmers are showing keen interest in mushroom cultivation because mushroom cultivation generates more income as compared to other crops. The three types of mushrooms vary in their shape, size, colour and biochemical composition. Earlier only the button mushroom was grown but now oyster and milky mushrooms are also grown in the state.
The main consumers of mushrooms are food restaurant, hotels, clubs and households. Mushrooms are mostly sold through vegetable shops. The growing domestic and export market as also the delicacy and food value provides extensive and good potential for cultivation of mushroom. Marketing is an Individual affair in our country and there are subsidies for establishing Canning Units and other such products but the marketing channels are limited. The seasonal growers do not have cooperatives. There is demand for opening the market outlets but this is feasible only when there is ample mushroom production. It has been observed that the mushroom growers lack basic knowledge of production technology and marketing channels. Mushrooms have perishable nature and this is the reason that the trade of mushrooms is limited. The canned mushrooms can be kept for a long time and can be transported in a better way. The USA and European Union are the major producers of mushroom but these are the major importers of mushroom as there is great demand of mushroom in these countries. China, India and Indonesia are three most important mushroom exporting countries in the world. Initially there were very few quality strains of mushroom. S-11 was introduced in mid 60s continues in use for 2-3 decades and is still used by the seasonal growers. Presently Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and Horticultural Boards are playing a big role in popularizing mushroom cultivation among the farmers.
Spawn is mushroom seed. Spawns are available in the Directorate of Agriculture and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). If desired, the same can be produced and sold commercially. There are two methods of composting for mushroom cultivation. One is long method and another is short method. Short method requires less time but it is costly. Most of the growers still use the long method for the compost making which leads to the poor yield and also requires indiscriminate use of chemicals. There is need to diversify and popularize different types of mushrooms and go for multifunctional use of mushroom tunnels. These tunnels should not only be used for pasteurize compost for button but can also be used for pasteurizing straw for oyster, milky and button mushrooms cultivation. This will help in product diversification and there will be less use of power.
There are several mixtures for compost formation and anyone that suits the entrepreneur can be chosen. It is prepared by using wheat/paddy straw into which various ingredients are added. In synthetic compost wheat straw is supplemented with poultry manure, urea, gypsum and mustard oil cake. In organic compost, horse dung is added. The compost can be prepared by the long or short composting methods. Only those who have pasteurizing facility can employ short cut method. In long method 7-8 turns at regular intervals are required for a period of 28 days. Good compost is dark-brown, ammonia free, little greasiness and having 65-70% moisture. Mushroom seed is said to be spawn which is white in colour. It should be free from any disease and insect-pests. Before spawning the surface should be washed with 2% formalin. For mixing spawn with compost any of the three procedures can be followed: (i) Compost is divided into equal layers and spawns spread in each layer. Result is spawning in different layers. (ii) 3 to 5 cms of compost is remixed, spawns spread and covered with compost. (iii) Spawns are mixed with compost and pressed. A bottle of spawns is good enough for 35 kg of compost spread over 0.75 sq.mt. area (about 2 trays). That is, spawn to compost ratio is 0.5%. Trays are then arranged in tiers in the cropping room and covered with newspapers. 2% formalin is sprinkled over them. Desired room temperature should be around 18 degreeC with 95% humidity. Spawned compost is covered with suitable material is said to be casing. It helps to convert vegetative phase into reproductive phase. Besides temperature and humidity mentioned above, proper room ventilation should be ensured. After casing mushroom bags should be kept moistened. Mushrooms prop up in 30-35 days. These fungal fruit bodies appear in flushes and harvested when buttons are tightly closed. In a cropping cycle of 8-10 weeks an average yield of 10 kg mushroom/sq. metre is feasible. Cropped mushrooms can be packed for marketing.
Technical training and assistance can be taken from. (a) Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of State Agricultural Universities (SAUs)(b) Rashtrya Anusandhan Evam Prashikshan Kendra, Chambaghat, Solan (H.P.). (c) Regional Research Lab, Jorhat, Assam. (d) Regional Research Lab, Jammu. (e) Central Food Technology Research Institute, Cheluvamba Mansion, Mysore etc. Raw materials should be procured preferably from local areas. It has been observed that the mushrooms are having good demand in the market. Mushrooms cultivation requires awareness on modern production technology and health benefits, product diversification, better transportation with cold chain facilities, cooperatives, incorporation of mushroom in Indian food habits, introduction of mushrooms in mid-day meal scheme in schools and dissemination of information for scientific mushrooms cultivation through electronic media. There is ample scope of integrating mushroom farming in existing integrated farming system. There is need of simple scientific technology, better strains and more value addition methods of mushrooms for the mushroom growers. There is need to organize the trade and marketing of mushrooms within the state and country.
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