Ernakulam native Jithu Thomas was solely 19 years previous when he first sowed some mushroom seeds in a packet. It was his favorite pastime along with his mom these days and by the passage of time, his curiosity multiplied.
“I used to read a lot regarding mushroom farming and when I went online my research became much easier,” says the 31-year-old farmer. “Today, amma (mother) and I manage a 5,000 square feet farm space and a lab area near our house in Piravom where 80-100 kg of mushroom is produced every day. Our daily earning is Rs 35,000-40,000.”
Leena’s Mushroom Farm was integrated 4 years again and Jithu says that using scientific strategies made them profitable inside a brief span of time. The duo’s farm overcame two floods and the pandemic with out a main downfall in gross sales due to correct planning.
“Mushrooms need a controlled climate to grow where the temperature shouldn’t fall under 30 degrees celsius. Installation of a proper cooling system is therefore significant. We have designed the room and its settings in such a way that around 20,000 beds can be positioned in a space where usually only 5,000 beds are placed,” explains Jithu.
Mushroom or nothing
Jithu accomplished his commencement in Physics and post-graduation in Social Work. For some years after course completion, he labored for an NGO as a social entrepreneur. During all these years, mushroom farming was only a facet enterprise. When he realised the potential of this cultivation and its demand within the native market, he was a full-time farmer.
“I have always encouraged his interest in farming and now looks after the whole space as well as staff. Incorporating new techniques and disaster management are his area of expertise,” says 55-year-old Leena.
Jithu has attended a one-day workshop performed by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kumarakom. Except that, no different formal coaching was acquired. “Even though mushroom farming is widespread in the country, it is more popular in foreign lands where a cooler climate prevails. So while performing it in our weather conditions, customisation is very much necessary,” says Jithu, including, “I’ve designed the farm myself.”
There are 11 workers at Leena’s, all of whom are girls from the neighbourhood. The produce is made into packets of 200 g and distributed amongst native vegetable outlets, supermarkets and bakeries inside a 30 km radius. The value of 1 packet is Rs 80. It should be used inside two days if positioned within the open air and may last as long as 5 days if refrigerated. The duo share that their produce is rarely wasted as there’s a steady marketplace for mushrooms in Kerala.
“There are many advantages to mushroom farming including its less growing period. But that doesn’t mean it is an easy task. The crop is fragile and extremely sensitive. A minute change in temperature or the advent of pests can ruin the crop completely,” warns the farmer.
In addition to mushrooms, their seeds are additionally bought to different farmers. Jithu additionally gives short-term coaching to newcomers within the discipline for presidency establishments. Free on-line and offline coaching can also be given to farmers. “At least 1,000 people have attended my classes so far but I am not sure how many took up farming later,” he provides.
Jithu shares some recommendations on beginning a mushroom farm at dwelling:
- Picking good high quality seeds is the primary and most vital step. You can both buy immediately from skilled growers or strive those obtainable on e-commerce websites.
- Oyster mushrooms are the most effective, to start with. It provides fast outcomes and an inexpensive amount.
- Always start on a small scale foundation. Pick your own home’s hall or balcony as the placement.
- Consider the primary six months because the trial interval. Level up solely after that once you really feel it’s manageable and worthwhile.
- Watch YouTube movies concerning mushroom farming. Also, attempt to attend a day by day/weekly workshop/coaching organized by close by authorities establishments.
Edited by Yoshita Rao