Promotion of Mushroom Cultivation as an Income Generation Avenue for Rural Families
Mr.Vijayan Pillai, Thonduthara, Thiruvanvandoor P O, Pathanamthitta who hails from a farming family is an ex- military. After his military service he purchased a mini truck and became a driver by profession. His wife works as a Mahila Pradhan Saving Agent of the Post Office. Looking for additional income to support the family of four members. In October 2005 he attended the training on “Oyster and Milky mushroom cultivation” conducted at KVK. Drawing inspiration from the training, Mr.Vijayan Pillai started cultivation of Oyster and Milky mushroom in a very small scale. Due to the better quality, market demand and low pest problems shown by the milky mushroom he started exclusive cultivation of milky mushroom in one of the rooms in the down floor of his house. The success of the project motivated Mr.Vijayan Pillai to expand the unit further from one room to three rooms with a capacity of 200 beds in each room.
Vijay mushroom farm has three mushroom growing rooms, one bed preparation area, separate straw keeping area and one store. He regulates the cultivation in such a way that only two rooms are used at a time. After each cultivation, one room is kept vacant to prevent accumulation of insect pests. He maintains lower temperature, lesser sunlight, higher humidity and good aeration in the growth rooms by regulating the ventilation. The beds are kept in the tubular hanging system using plastic ropes. 8 beds are kept in each tubular column.
Mr.Vijayan Pillaiuses paddy straw as substrate for milky mushroom cultivation. The straw is chemically sterilized using 5gm Bavistin and 25ml Formaldehyde in 50 lts. of water. The compact polybag technique using 30 x 40 cm. polythene bags is adopted for growing milky mushroom. 500gm paddy straw and 200 gm spawn is used for preparing one mushroom bed. After 15 to 20 days of incubation of the spawned beds, casing is done using sterilized mixture of sand, soil and calcium carbonate (1:1:20). The first harvest is taken within 10 to 15 days after casing. The current monthly production of Mr.Vijayan Pillai’s farm is 100kg. The produce is attractively packed and sold @ Rs 150/kg in leading bakeries of Chengannoor and Tiruvalla. Mr. Pillai’s farm has an average cost of production of Rs 6000/cycle. The farm has a total turnover of Rs 80000/yr with a net profit of Rs 32,000/-. Mr.Vijayan Pillai regularly visits the KVK and updates his knowledge in the newer aspects of cultivation, cost reduction and pest management. In the beginning stage he collected spawn from KVK. Now he started small scale spawn production unit also.
By adopting mushroom cultivation, Mr.Vijayan Pillai was able to find employment during periods of no work for his mini truck. His whole family is involved in the cultivation, effectively utilizing their free time. Inspired from his cultivation his friends also started cultivating mushroom in small scale in their homes with the technical guidance of the KVK. Mr.Vijayan Pillai’s wife during her routine visits to the homes as part of her post office work give growing tips and motivate people to start cultivation in their home stead. His new role as an entrepreneur gave Mr. Vijayan Pillai a better social acceptance and improved his standard of living in a substantial way.