Mission mushroom


It was 25 years ago that the Mushroom
Development Foundation (MDF) started its mission to synthesis health and
nutrition with sustainable 
livelihood  for  indigenous population through mushroom cultivation.
The mission focuses on livelihood, safe and improved production  techniques, women empowerment, fair price
sharing for farmers, employment, and safe and nutritious mushrooms for all.





In January 2018, the MDF associated with the Assam State Rural
Livelihood Mission Society (ASRLMS) for an innovative and sustainable
livelihood generation project, wherein, within one year, 200 indigenous women
Self-Help Group members together developed a mushroom value chain and attained
an annual production capacity of 250 metric tones of mushroom. Within the first
three months of commercial production, the total production of 7,000 kgs., with
a cumulative income of approximately Rs. 12 lakhs, developing about 85 channels
was achieved.





The unique project started with a survey of the suitable areas and
people. The Dimoria and Chandrapur blocks were selected as project locations,
and 200 women SHG members were selected through a socio-economic survey and eligibility
analysis. Sensitization meetings led to the formation of eight clusters. Each
cluster, comprising of 25 members each, were organized as Mushroom Demonstration
Units (MDU); Common Processing Units (CPU) and Individual Production Units
(IPU) formed the backward linkage of the value chain.





The cluster-wise capacity building and infrastructure development
activities began on March 3, 2018, which included trainings on cultivation, post-harvesting, mushroom processing,
inventory and logistics management, entrepreneurship and institution building,
construction of mushroom growing house, bag making and packing houses, paddy
straw storing unit, cutting, boiling and soaking units and vermicomposting unit
– all constructed using low-cost materials and equipment such as used flex, bamboo,
green shade net, mobile straw cutting machine and spraying machine.





For
better market knowledge, household surveys were conducted in different parts of
the city to create awareness about mushrooms with the brand positioning as ‘Pusti
Avijan’. On April 24, 2018.





The
MDUs were inaugurated by M.G.V.K Bhanu, Former Additional Chief Secretary,
Government of Assam and Nandita Hazarika, State Mission Director, ASRLMS, at
the Marangabari Village in Dimoria Block. All 200 farmers became fully engaged
by November, 2018. The MDUs were trained on mushroom processing, food items and
rice based dishes to cater to a larger market and enable diversification for
sustainability. Thus, the ‘Pusti Avijan’ brand of mushroom products was
launched and distributed to 85 retail outlets and institutions around the city
and even overseas to Hong Kong. Participations in food festivals, trade fairs,
etc., also raised the popularity and sales.





At
the SARAS FAIR 2018, hundreds thronged to the Pusti Avijan stall, seeking fresh
and processed mushrooms and within just ten days, sales crossed Rs. 1.03 lakhs.
A dedicated outlet at FC Road, Latasil, to demonstrate and sell all ‘Pusti
Avijan’ products, along with several mobile kiosks will be launched during the
second week of April, 2019.





MDF’s  ‘Mushroom Army’ needs support to scale up
national and international markets with local mushrooms. The local markets are realizing
the nutritional and economic benefits of mushroom consumption. A new model is
being developed that ensures optimum revenue for farmers by transforming farmer
clusters into collective business entities and the creation of a marketing
company, open for investments, and profit sharing with the farmers,
participating professionals and the public at large. To induce a paradigm shift,
MDF plans to introduce local varieties of rice blended with mushrooms to
benefit a larger section of farmers across the region. MDF is partnering with
various institutions, organizations and 
individuals  to  join hands 
in  this mushroom-rice revolution
in the region.


Mission mushroom Mission mushroom Reviewed by feedvalley on March 24, 2019 Rating: 5

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