Friday, 18 May 2012

Rising mushroom demand attracting attention of farmers in Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: The surging demand for mushroom has attracted the farmers attention here although the cultivation the edible fungi has not caught on in a big way.
The state is witnessing the daily demand for mushroom to be nearly 75 to 100 tonnes, while the state's production of the button, oyster and milky mushroom is just about 10 to 15 tonnes, said Dr Prakasam, Professor, Plant Pathology at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
With the aim to fulfill the supply shortfall, the traders have been sourcing the button mushroom from markets in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.
Moreover, the Directorate of Mushroom Research at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established a centre at the farm varsity here, which according to Dr Prakasam is among the oldest centres in the 14 established in India.
Dr Prakasam, said, “We have imparted training to over 20,000 farmers till date. Though a majority of them were from Tamil Nadu, we have had participants from Kerala and Andhra as well. In recent years, a good number of those who have attended our training programmes have undertaken this venture on a commercial scale. There are 600 mushroom growers in the State of whom 550 are engaged in oyster mushroom cultivation, 40 have taken up button mushroom and less than 10, the milky mushroom. The investment for starting a small oyster mushroom farm would work out to around Rs 30,000.”

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