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Berozgar se Swarozgar: Mushroom farming new alternative to J&K’s employment woes

SRINAGAR: With the latest technological interventions of J&K Administration as well as subsidy for Mushroom growers, the Mushroom production has registered a substantial increase across Jammu and Kashmir.

Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, a National Agriculture Development Programme, mushroom cultivation is focus area and Mushroom growers are equipped with quality seeds and trained in scientific cultivation techniques. Kashmir boasts hundreds of success stories in the mushroom cultivation business and administration’s 50 percent subsidy and technical knowledge is making the cultivation profitable among growers.

J&K government is emphasizing upon stakeholders for encouraging and promoting Mushroom Cultivation, a potential entrepreneurship for youth in a big way. With the recent government interventions, forest-dwellers in Jammu Shivaliks are being given formal training and instructions about mushroom collection and processing techniques, market knowledge as well as market access, so that their efforts pay them their rightly earned share.

Mohammad Ishfaq Malla of Battapora, Baramulla district of north Kashmir started growing mushrooms in 2018 and is now reaping the rewards with government help. The 38-year-old agripreneur currently makes around Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh per year from mushroom farming, spawn production and training of aspiring mushroom farmers.

Malla is currently producing 1.5–1.75 quintals of mushrooms annually and selling them for Rs 250 per kilogramme. He is grateful to the horticulture division for providing him with a platform and aiding in his marketing.

“In the future, I intend to create a mushroom farm through which I would not only cover the entirety of north Kashmir but also place young people in jobs,” he said. He advised those who are interested in the mushroom cultivation to visit the agriculture department for any assistance and occasionally seek the advice and guidance of the officials.

Similarly, Tahmeena, a resident of Pulwama received training in growing Mushrooms from the Agriculture Department. “I came to know from one of my friends about the advantage of growing mushrooms and how it can help us in our day-to-day income”, she said.

Tahmeena has got basic training of Mushroom cultivation from J&K Agriculture Department. “During the training, the Agriculture Department made us aware of the seeds, heating system, threat of insects and so on. It was a 40 days training process and it was quite commendable how women like me and others were trained”, Tahmeena said.

She says opportunities like these are important for hundreds of women who want to be self-independent and make a name for themselves. A woman should explore other opportunities as well that have been provided by the Jammu and Kashmir government and they should look forward to earning a livelihood, Tahmeena added.

 

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