Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

Please send your personal suggestions or relevant news clips by clicking here and these will be posted at the earliest opportunity. Differing points of view are welcome and encouraged. Thank you.

Vijay Sazawal

Monday, April 16, 2012

MM II - Mushroom Cultivation in Kashmir

Sajad says that the Government is about to boost production of mushrooms and hopefully, it will create new jobs

(Mr. Sajad Kralyari, 29, was born in Kralyar, Srinagar. He had his early schooling at the General Public Mission (GPM) School, and his higher secondary education from the Government High School. He completed his B.Sc. from the Gandhi Memorial College, Rainawari, Srinagar, and Master's degree in journalism from the Media Educational Research Centre (MERC), University of Kashmir in 2008. He subsequently did a brief stint in New Delhi before returning as a correspondent for the Rising Kashmir, working on business and economy related stories.)

Mushroom Your Business

Government has identified mushroom cultivation as a key area of focus under the ‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana’ (National Agriculture Development Programme) scheme. Mushrooms prove easy to cultivate in the valley due to their ability to thrive on mule dung and paddy straw which are locally available raw materials.

Mushroom growers in Kashmir are supported by the government through the supply of quality seeds, subsidy and the provision of technical training involved in cultivation.

The Economic Survey 2010-11 also highlights the National Horticulture Technology Mission: Mini Mission II for the purpose of establishing an Integrated Mushroom Development Centre for mushroom production.
Entrepreneurs will benefit from the government’s current attention to this sector offered through helpful incentives, trainings and provision of resources.

In 2009-10, 79,277 spawn bottles were distributed, 150,000 trays/polybags were laid and mushroom production was reported at 5051.61 quintals.

Mushrooms are grown in trays installed in a closed room where a particular temperature is maintained. The entrepreneur with no knowledge in farming can start up growing mushrooms in 500 to 800 trays. After gaining experience in a year, the entrepreneur can grow these profitable plants at large scale. A 15 by 15 sq feet room can accommodate 100 trays. Depending upon the size of the rooms, 800 trays can be accommodated accordingly in 8 or less number of rooms.

The growers are using wooden or iron trays. The 100 wooden trays may cost around Rs 30000.

Spray pump:
At current market prices, one spray pump costs Rs 4000. For 800 trays two or three spray pumps can be used.


Preparing Compost:
Most commercial mushroom compost is made from the cheapest waste products the mushroom farmers can get. Usually they consist of manure from chicken, paddy straw, wheat brawn, besides using fertilizers, gypsum, soil and spawn.

For 100 trays, preparing compost will cost around Rs 15000 for an entrepreneur in urban areas while as it will be less in rural areas where paddy straw and wheat brawn is abundantly available.

There will be spring and autumn crop annually. At 3 kgs of mushroom production per tray, the entrepreneur can have 2400 kilograms per crop. While selling the crop at Rs 150 per kilogram, the entrepreneur can fetch Rs 360000 per crop.

Government Support:
Under centrally sponsored scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY), the Department of agriculture provides Rs 25000 to the farmers for 100 trays.
Government also provides training to the growers at its Departmental-cum-training centers in every district.

Experts speak:
“Mushroom cultivation is picking up in the Valley and has proved successful business venture for unemployed youth. We already have 305 growers in Valley. Unemployed youth should take up this venture for livelihood. There is a huge demand at local, national and international level for mushrooms.” Subject matter expert at Agriculture Department Nazir Ahmad Rather.

“Unemployed youth from urban areas are also registering with department for subsidies and training for mushroom cultivation. It has fetched them good profit.” Mushroom Cultivator at Mushroom Center Agriculture Department, Abid Khan

Biz idea: Mushroom Cultivation, Processing and Packaging
Geographical Location: Rural, Urban areas
Potential Market Size Local market – Rs. 2.52 crore
National market – Rs. 136.12 crore
International market – Rs. 22,140 crore
Key Customer Segments:Local and national households, traders and wholesalers, hospitality sector, marriage season
Land: ¼ of kanal for compost preparing
Investment: Rs 5 lakh for infrastructure
Returns: Rs 7,20,000 annually
Resource: MercyCorps, Agriculture Department

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