Mushroom farming popular near Paradip

Kendrapara: Mushroom farming has become popular in villages near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district due to the enterprising initiative of a group of young girls and homemakers.

Mushroom cultivation has become a new source of income for girls who were otherwise idling away their time. "The produce has also made its way to neighbouring port town fetching good returns."

"The process had initially begun for domestic consumption. Now many have switched over to commercial farming," said Arabinda Dhal, a scientist at the Central Government-run Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

"It all began on an experimental basis. We had taken up the farming to meet our household needs. As vegetable prices soared, we tried to supplement it with mushroom. After the experiment turned out to be a success, we thought of larger farming," said Kausalya Swain, president of the Mahalaxmi Women Self Help Group from Mangarajpur village.

"We were short of funds. But inspired by our sincere endeavour, a nearby fertiliser manufacturing unit volunteered to help. We have not looked back ever since," she said

"Mushroom farming is a highly remunerative enterprise with quick return in a very short period. But the farming needs to be done strictly under technical guidance," said Dhal.

"After the women members of the village tried out their luck in mushroom cultivation and achieved success, we approached the Paradip Phosphates Limited and government-run Krishi Vigyan Kendra to assist them in their effort. Both the institutions promptly providing them with training and spawns, "said Rabinarayan Mahapatra, former sarpanch of Mangarajpur gram panchayat.

"With the support from PPL and KVK, we have taken to commercial farming of mushroom. We are lucky that mushroom is in high demand in Paradip port town. We are successfully marketing the produce at a remunerative price" said Kausalya Swain.