|Women have taken up mushroom farming near Paradip. Telegraph pictures|
Paradip, Aug. 21: A group of young girls and homemakers have scripted a success story of women empowerment in and around Paradip civil township.
Owing to their enterprising initiative, mushroom farming, as a means of livelihood source, is picking up in villages on the periphery of Paradip port town.
The mushroom farming has emerged as a new income source of the girls who had been otherwise idling away their time before they took to this. Apart from meeting local needs, the produce has fetched them good return.
“The earning is satisfactory to substantially augment a family’s income source. The process had initially begun for domestic consumption. Now, many have switched over to commercial farming,” said Arabinda Dhal, a scientist in the Centre-run Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Jagatsinghpur.
“It all began on an experimental basis. We had taken up the farming to meet our household needs. As vegetable price was going up, we tried to supplement it with mushroom. After the experiment turned out to be success, we decided to go for larger farming. We were short of funds. But inspired by our sincere endeavour, a nearby fertiliser-manufacturing unit volunteered to lend helping hands towards us. Since then we didn’t have to look back,” said Kausalya Swain, president of the Mahalaxmi Women Self Help Group from Mangarajpur village.
“Mushroom farming is a highly remunerative enterprise with quick return in short period. But, it needs to be done strictly under technical guidance,” said Dhal.
“After the women members of the village tried out their luck in mushroom cultivation and achieved success, we approached Paradip Phosphates Limited (PPL) and the government-run Krishi Vigyan Kendra to assist them in their effort. Both of the institutions promptly helped providing them with training and spawns,” said Rabinarayan Mahapatra, sarpanch of Mangarajpur gram panchayat.
“After we had got support from the Paradip Phosphates and the Kendra, we took to commercial farming of mushroom. We are lucky that mushroom is high in demand in Paradip. We are successfully marketing the produce at a remunerative price. We are now assured of a fixed profit every month. More are beginning to evince interest in mushroom farming,” said Kaushalya.