How Bihar Became the Highest Producer of Mushrooms in India
- Pallavi Priya
- Published on 18 May 2022, 9:19 am IST
- 3 minutes read
- Bihar is producing 10% of the total mushroom grown in the country.
- According to the National Horticulture Board, the state produced 28000 tonnes of mushrooms in 2021-2022
- Bihar's achieved this feat by subsiding mushroom unit and distributing mushroom bags
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The spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus known as Mushrooms or Toadstool is one of the most commonly consumed food items in our country. From homes to street food and big hotels, all of these have several options for mushrooms on their menu. Considering the likeness for mushrooms among people and the returns received from their farming, the state as well as the Union Government have been taking steps to encourage & promote mushroom farming in India.
As a result of a decade-long expedition, Bihar has become the largest producer of mushrooms in the country. The state is contributing 10% of the total production in the country. National Horticulture Board has also recognized this feat of Bihar. According to their data mushroom production in the state crossed 28000 tonnes in 2021-2022.
During a conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Nand Kishore, IFS, who is currently posted as the Director of Horticulture-Cum-Mission Director in Bihar, talked about the steps that helped the state to become the largest producer of mushrooms.
A DECADE LONG EFFORT
Integrated Development of Horticulture, Bihar has been working on three levels to help the farmers produce the best mushrooms. “Around 2012, we analyzed the air condition in which mushrooms can grow the best. Keeping that in mind, we started distributing mushroom units at subsidized rates to the farmers. This step was taken for the most commonly consumed white button mushrooms”, said Mr. Kishore.
He also mentioned that subsidy was not only limited to the mushroom units but all the requisite required for mushroom production – from compost production to spawning.
With subsidies on all levels, Bihar started to produce mushrooms year-round. Apart from this, the government also took steps to grow oyster mushrooms in the state. Around 3-4 years back, a campaign was launched and mushroom bags were distributed among the landless farmers too. As a result, Bihar saw a ‘mushroom revolution’ and thousands of houses started producing them for their consumption and market as well.
The Horticulture department also introduced Mushroom huts for the growth of button as well as oyster mushroom. As a result, the state saw unexpected results in this area. As of now, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Gaya, and Nalanda are the largest producers. They are also exporting it to the nearby states which include West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh & Punjab.
FOCUS ON PROCESSING & STORAGE
The shelf life of mushrooms, especially the oyster mushroom is too low. Talking about it, Mr. Kishore said, “It can’t be stored in cold storage for too long. The farmers are under pressure to market it as soon as they get the yield. With the help of Rajendra Nagar Agriculture University, we have already started teaching the farmers how to process the mushroom and store it for long. Many are already practicing it by drying the mushroom & using it to make biscuits, pickles, etc. Further, we are planning on taking the processing ahead. Our focus is to store it for long and make items like soups etc. which will help farmers to earn more”.
The horticulture department is also focused on creating clusters of mushroom farms where groups of farmers can be involved in the process and the production could be enhanced. Mr. Kishore says that it will help the farmers to increase their bargaining capacity when they go to market it out.
END OF THE ARTICLE