Keonjhar: A tribal woman of Bansapal block in this district has become an example of sorts in mushroom farming.
The successful farmer Madhusmita Mohant, a resident of Shuliakathi, has also made over a 100 women self-sufficient with mushroom cultivation.
After marriage, Madhusmita found it too difficult to meet family expenses with the meagre income of her husband.
Instead of getting frustrated, she thought of taking up income-generating activities. She was then 27 and started mushroom cultivation after becoming part of a self-help group (SHG), which received training at the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra on how to grow ‘dhingri’, a local variety of mushroom that grows in winter.
As ‘dhingri’ mushroom is tasty, it has good demand in the market. Madhusmita started mushroom cultivation with a small investment. Initially, she purchased seeds for 10 bags of mushroom and produced 40 kg of mushroom in 2012-13.
“I had invested Rs 1,000 and got Rs 1,800 in return in a month,” she recalled. Since then, Madhusmita has never looked back. Her husband also supports her in cultivation.
Enthused by the success, the couple purchased seeds for 200 bags of mushrooms in 2013-14. Gradually, farming picked up and they purchased seeds for 1000 bags of mushroom in 2014-15.
That year, the couple had earned Rs 1.35 lakh from mushroom farming. Later, they started growing colour varieties of mushroom and sold them in mining areas.
Last year, the couple had taken seeds for 1,250 bags and produced 20 quintals of mushroom. In just three months, the couple sold the produce for Rs 2 lakh.
“If we spend Re 1, we get Rs 3 in return in mushroom business. So, there is no need for us to go outside for work,” the couple said happily, adding the ‘dhingri’ variety is more profitable than other varieties.
There is a huge market for this variety and the produce can be sent outside the district after proper packaging.
Now, Madhusmita has been grooming 100 women in mushroom cultivation in the area. She has been felicitated by the administration for her achievements and enterprising ability. PNN