Muzaffarpur, Jan. 8: Mushrooms could soon help HIV-positive people in the state to eke out a living and also fight social discrimination.
Sources said mushroom is in high demand, as it is an ingredient of a number of popular vegetarian dishes. So, National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco) is planning to promote its mushroom model in the state to help out HIV-positive persons, who are also victims of social discrimination.
The model has already been introduced in the state. Sources said the district health society advised Naco to promote the model so that HIV-positive people could find employment. The training process has already started at Rajendra Agriculture University (RAU), Pusa. HIV-positive people are being trained to spawn and cultivate button mushrooms.
Naco district co-ordinator Raju Kumar Choubey said he has also made an appeal to senior Unicef officers to adopt the mushroom model for larger interest of the HIV-positive people. “This will provide a platform for them to mingle in society, and also curb discrimination against them.”
He added: “There are more than 110 HIV-positive people in Muzaffarpur district. They often face difficulty in finding employment. They also face social discrimination at home. Naco is burning the midnight oil to help them out and fight discrimination. RAU is providing the technical support to train the HIV-positive people. We believe this will help them earn a decent living.”
Dayaram, the principal investigator of the mushroom project of RAU, Pusa, said a number of HIV-positive people have joined the project. “They have been motivated to adopt the cultivation and production of mushroom and spawn to increase their income. A team from the university demonstrated the detailed techniques of spawn production and cultivation of mushroom to a select group.”
He added that he has held detailed meetings with the chief medical officer of the district, Dr Giyan Bhushan, as well as senior officers of the health society, which will provide a marketing platform to products made by HIV-positive people.