Besides agriculture and livestock production, oyster mushroom farming has become a lucrative business for some farmers in Tsirang in recent years. A better market, good price and support from the Gewog Agriculture Extension Office have encouraged farmers to grow the mushroom. Today, Kilkhorthang Gewog alone has around 30 farmers growing the mushroom. Of these, eight farmers in the gewog cultivate the mushroom for commercial purposes.
30-year-old university graduate Deepak Chamlagai is one of the farmers who ventured into mushroom farming. He started growing the mushroom in 2020.
Cramped inside the first floor of his house and two other tarpaulin huts, Deepak is busy watering his 45-day-old mushroom blocks. Initially, he tried with just 40 mushroom blocks but today his farm has over one thousand blocks.
He conceived the idea of cultivating mushrooms when he was in college.
“Because of the good market that gave me inspiration and whatever the hard work I have put in the beginning that gave a good yield. So now I have more than one thousand mushroom blocks,” said Deepak.
His mushrooms are highly sought after in Damphu town. And a kilogram of mushroom fetches him Nu 300.
“If I find a good market like before then my production will be more than one thousand kilograms which means one metric ton. So, from that, if I am able to sell with my expected price I will be earning Nu 300,000.
Deepak plans to upscale his mushroom production by more than six thousand blocks next season. But he isn’t the only mushroom grower in his gewog. Eight more farmers have ventured into growing mushrooms this time.
“We have been importing mushrooms. That’s why with the government’s support, we started growing mushrooms. We get mutton and pork in abundance but not mushrooms,” said Maha Nandal Rizal, another mushroom grower.
The Gewog Agriculture Extension Office provides farmers with free mushroom spawn, construction materials and technical support.
A number of studies have proven that the oyster mushroom has medicinal values such as boosting the immune system, lowering high blood pressure, building strong bones and regulating cholesterol levels among others.
Pema Tshewang, Tsirang
Edited by Sonam Pem