PESHAWAR – Mushroom cultivation through modern method of farming can serve as a potential source of livelihood especially for unemployed youth and womenfolk besides promoting nutritious food consumption among people.
“Mushroom production through farming is an easy procedure for obtaining this nutritious food which also contains traces of carbohydrates and fats,” observed Sher Muhammad, an expert in Mushroom farming who also owns a farm in Peshawar.
“Mushroom farming is very simple and can serve as potential source of creating livelihood for hundred of thousands of unemployed youth,” Sher Muhammad told APP.
“It can also serve as cottage industry as people can do farming in their homes on low scale,” he added.
Sher Muhammad is providing training in mushroom farming free of cost and has so far trained around 75 to 80 persons out of which 15 are now doing mushroom business and supplying the product in different parts of the country.
He has also published a colored broucher containing guidelines for mushroom growing at homes. The broucher is available free of cost.
Talking to APP, Sher Muhammad informed that mushroom cultivation is highly profitable business as one kg production costs around Rs. 80 and can be sold in market at the rate of Rs. 380. While the shopkeepers sell is to customers at Rs. 400 to 450 per kg. So one kg of mushroom, which takes about 35 days, can easily fetch Rs. 300 profit and an ordinary businessmen can easily produce 500 kg mushrooms at home, he disclosed.
An ordinary person can easily make an earning of Rs. 10,000 to 12,000 by growing mushroom at their home in a single small room, he claims.
Mushrooms cultivation does not require land and can be grown as a part time activity, he told and added its cultivation does not require full time labour and a family member can look after different operations easily.
In mushroom farming, the fungal is cultivated in plastic bags and through hanging in a wood or iron stand more bags can be utilized in limited place.
Each bag is filled with husk of wheat and mushroom seed is buried in it. After giving water and maintaining room temperature, mushroom starts to grow flushes after few days which is regenerated after cutting several times.
Each plastic bag casts upto Rs. 80 and produces flushes measuring weight of around one kg which is easily sold at Rs. 400 in market, Sher reiterated. About poisonous mushrooms, he said, there are hundreds of types of mushrooms some are edible and some are poisonous.
In mushroom farming, the most popular type of mushrooms are grown including oyster mushroom, both while and golden, button mushroom and milky mushroom. The oyster mushroom is most suitable to Pakistan’s climate and can be grown round the year, except for four months of sever heat including May, June, July and August.
In summer season, milky mushroom can also be grown with care and in this season, Sher Muhammad is trying to cultivate it on experimental basis.
From September’s end, when the weather starts changing, growing restarts and continue till late April, he explains.
Sher Muhammad said, button mushroom can also be grown in hilly areas of Pakistan as it requires cold temperature. In areas of tropical season, button mushroom can also be grown through installation of air conditions, but it will increase cost of production.
Sher Muhammad also stressed upon government to give consideration to mushroom farming and arrange training for locals.
He said in the wake of CPEC as a result of which a large number of Chinese and other foreigners are coming to Pakistan, the prospects of mushroom growing is also increasing because they use mushroom in their diet on daily basis.
A number of our customers are from Islamabad who purchase mushroom from us and supply it to foreigners, Sher informed.
Similarly, he added, a unique kind of mushroom, Reishy, whose price in international market is around Rs. Four to Six hundred thousands can also be grown in Pakistan provided proper training is given.
Malaysia, China, Thailand and India are expert in growing of Reishy mushroom and therefore government should arrange training of people from these countries and make arrangements for provision of seeds so that we should also grow this mushroom in our country and earn foreign exchange.
Sher Muhammad stressed upon government to arrange training programme for mushroom farming in the country with the objective of creating livelihood facility and for promoting consumption of highly nutritious food among people.