Punjab farmers reaping rich dividends with Mushroom cultivation

Punjab farmers reaping rich dividends with Mushroom cultivation

Punjab farmers reaping rich dividends with Mushroom cultivation

DEHRIWAL (PUNJAB): Overcoming problems like shortage of land or rising costs related to traditional crops, many farmers in Punjab’s Dehriwal Village, 35 kilometers of Amritsar, have taken to mushroom cultivation.

Mushroom cultivation is known to be a commercially valuable spore-bearing fruiting body of fungus.

Sewa Singh, a former Subedar with the Indian Army-turned-farmer, is one such individual who took to mushroom cultivation for the first time here. Having achieved success in mushroom cultivation, he has become an inspiration for all others.

Sewa Singh claims to have started mushroom cultivation as an experiment. He grew mushrooms over a thatched hut structure. It was an indigenously developed low-cost mushroom cultivation shed.

Despite not making a heavy investment and too much labour, he started making good income without heavy investment and labour. And, his success motivated fellow villagers to follow suit and cultivate mushrooms.

Today, nearly 90 per cent of the families in Dehriwal Village with a population of 2,500 residents are engaged in cultivating White Button Mushroom between September and March, which is also the peak season for Mushroom crop.

An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University, Subedar Sewa Singh has established a spawn production lab in his house to provide technical assistance and mushroom seeds to other farmers.

“One can get a minimum 40 per cent profit out of mushroom cultivation that makes it a lucrative affair. Marketing of mushroom is totally cash-based unlike other crops where most of the dealings are credit-based,” said Subedar (Retd.) Sewa Singh, a mushroom farmer.

The inputs for mushroom cultivation are mainly wheat straw, cattle dung, fertilisers and mushroom seeds which are readily available in the village.

Farmers with small holdings too can produce mushrooms, as large tracts of land are not needed for mushroom cultivation, said Baljeet Singh, another farmer.

“Many farmers here are successfully cultivating mushrooms. This village has many big and small farms. Landless villagers too can practice mushroom cultivation,” he said.

Inspired by the accomplishments of Dehriwal, neighbouring villages are also opting for mushroom cultivation.

Punjab Government’s Department of Horticulture is also assisting the farmers.

“The profit is double of the investment in mushroom cultivation. Dehriwal is a leading producer of mushroom here. The villagers here are making good profits in mushroom cultivation,” said Pargat Singh, Deputy Director in the Department of Horticulture, Amritsar.

“We also provide mushroom farmers with technical assistance as and when needed. Inspired by the success story of this villages, other nearby villages too are adopting to mushroom cultivation. Women can opt for mushroom cultivation in a major way since it can be grown even in a kitchen garden, Singh added.