Solan (Himachal Pradesh), July 12 (ANI): Mushroom farming is gaining in popularity among farmers and youths in Himachal Pradesh, as it is considered a viable crop to grow.
So engaged are farmers in mushroom cultivation, that many of them frequently consult scientists at the National Research Center for Mushroom near Solan to improve the quality of the product.
"Government programs are there for training and government also give grants and financial help to people who are interested in mushroom farming. Due to this, mushroom farming is gaining popularity and people are making mushroom industry as their career," said Vikas, a mushroom farmer.
Vikas added that he also supplies compost and mushroom seeds for ther small-scale farmers
"Many people started with 50 bags of compost which was sold at 30 rupees. So, they take 1500 bags of compost and sell mushrooms worth 3,000 rupees. Last year, the same people purchased 7,000 to 8,000 bags of compost which we are selling now at the rate of 60 rupees, which cost them around 400,000 rupees and sold mushroom of around 1,000,000 rupees," said Vikas.
Many women are also taking up the farming as it adds to the family income.
"Earlier, mushrooms were grown in less numbers. But from past few years it is gaining popularity. Now women are taking part in this work and consider this as mode of earning. Many women purchase compost from us to grow mushroom," said Seema, a woman farmer.
In Himachal Pradesh, different varieties like milky mushroom and ouster mushroom can be grown.
Mushroom farming was adopted first in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir states. About 80 to 85 per cent of white button mushrooms are grown here. Apart from these states, mushrooms are also being grown in Haryana during winters.
A nationwide demand for mushroom has solved the problem of unemployment among the youth since many of them have engaged themselves in cultivation, preservation and marketing of the product. (ANI)