Guwahati, India: In a bid to organise farmers and boost socio-economy in North-eastern Indian states, the Mushroom Development Foundation, Guwahati, developed 12 mushroom villages in four states of the Northeast, including Assam and 20 more clusters are in the pipeline this year.
According to Pranjal Baruah, founder-secretary of the foundation, a website is also being designed where photographs of each of these farmers with their families and farms and details of villages can be accessed. The objective is to create an interface with these farmers through GIS mapping and provide agri-technological inputs to them when required.
Baruah said mushroom was being used as a tool to organise a cluster of villages so the region could benefit from a cheap nutritious food as well as from its export. The entrepreneur said in developed countries, seven of 10 persons consumed mushrooms on a daily basis and it was expensive. But mushroom was not looked upon as a healthy and nutritious food item here and mushroom cultivation is not promoted on a large scale so that it could be consumed and exported.
“In 1978, China used to produce only 60,000 tonnes of mushroom and now it produces more than 1 million tonnes, 95 per cent of which is consumed. China stresses mushroom as a main food item to supplement nutritional needs which is not done in the northeastern states. Mushroom is considered an item served only in restaurants,” said Baruha.
“Mushrooms do not require land and can be grown cheaply on agriculture waste. This is what China has been doing. It produces 1,000 tonnes of agriculture waste while India produces 600 tonnes, a large part of it in the Northeast,” he added.
Source: The Telegraph