Little about Mushroom Cultivation in India: –

Cultivation of Mushroom has been in vogue for almost 200 years. However, commercial mushroom farming in India has started only recently. Growing mushroom under controlled condition is of recent origin. Its popularity is growing and it has become a business which is export-oriented. Today mushroom cultivation has been taken up in states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, etc. (during winter months) while earlier it was confined to Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Hilly areas. Mushroom is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, folic acid and is a good source of iron for anemic patient.

Mushroom are of three different types: –

  1. Button Mushroom
  2. Dhingri (Oyster)
  3. Paddy straw mushroom of all the types, button mushroom is the most popular one. Mushroom cultivation can be done at cottage and small scale levels besides large-scale farming.

Growers: – There are two main types of mushroom growers in India, seasonal growers and round the year growers. Both grow white button mushroom for the domestic market and export. The seasonal button mushroom growers are confined to temperate areas such as Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, hilly regions or Uttar Pradesh, Hilly regions of Tamil Nadu and North Eastern hilly regions where growers take 2-3 crops of button mushrooms in a year. Also included in the seasonal growers are the growers from North Western plains of India who grow one winter crop of button mushrooms and sell it fresh.

Mushroom market potential: – The main consumers of mushrooms are Chinese food restaurant, hotels, clubs and households. In big cities, mushrooms are sold through vegetable shops. The growing domestic and export market was also the delicacy and food value provides extensive and good potential for cultivation of mushroom.

Technical details in mushroom cultivation: –

  1. Manufacturing process:
  • Preparing spawn (mushroom seeds): Spawns are readily available in the markets. If desired, the same can be produced and sold commercially.
  • Compost preparation: – There are several mixtures for compost formation and anyone that suits the entrepreneur can be chosen. It is prepared using wheat/paddy straw into which various nutrient are added. In synthetic compost wheat straw is supplemented with nitrogen nutrients, organic and inorganic. In organic compost, horse dung is added. The compost can be prepared by long or short composting method. Only those who have pasteurizing facility can employ short cut method. In long method 7-8 turns at regular intervals are required for a period of 28 days. Good compost is dark brown, ammonia free, little greasiness and having 65-70% moisture.
  • Spewing (mixing compost with spawns): For mixing spawn with compost any of the three procedures can be followed:
  1. Layer Spewing: – Compost is divided into equal layers and spawns spread in each layer. Result is spewing in different layers.
  2. Surface spewing: –  3 to 5 cms of compost is remixed, spawns spread and covered with compost.
  3. Through spewing: – Spawns are mixed with compost and pressed. A bottle of spawns is good enough for 35 kg of compost spread over 0.75 sq.mt. Area (about 2 trays). That is, spawn to compost ratio is 0.5%. Trays are then arranged in tiers in the cropping room and covered with newspapers. 2% formalin I sprinkled over them. Desired room temperature is around 18’c with 95% humidity.

Casing:­- Spawned compost is covered with sterilized hay, chalk powder etc.

Mushroom Growth: – Besides temperature and humidity mentioned above, proper room ventilation should be ensured.

Cropping: – Mushroom prop up in 30-35 days. These fungal fruit bodies appear in flushes and harvested when button are tightly closed. In a cropping cycle of 8-10 weeks an average yield of 10 kg mushrooms/sq metre is feasible. Cropped mushrooms can be packed for marketing.

Bottom Line: – Mushroom cultivation yields best profits with minimal care and investment.