Guwahati, Monday, May 21, 2012
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Initiative to boost mushroom cultivation
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, May 20 – The Northeastern Institute of Science and Technology CSIR-NEIST has allotted a spawn production laboratory to city-based Eco Concept, a non-government organization promoting mushroom cultivation amongst the marginalized section.

 Dr AK Bordoloi, Senior Scientist from CSIR NEIST, conducted a day-long training-cum-awareness programme at the training centre of Eco Concept supported by the Rani Development Block.

A total of 33 women representing five self-help groups from various villages in the area participated in the training session.

Dr Bordoloi briefed the participants about the benefits of mushroom cultivation, including those of health, income and overall well-being. He explained and demonstrated the process of mushroom cultivation, the different varieties that can be cultivated throughout the year and the prospect of income generation to the participants. He also emphasized the potential of commercial mushroom production in the region.

“With the increasing number of people refraining from non-vegetarian foods, mushroom serves as the best alternative because of its high nutritional and calorific constituents,” he added.

He also highlighted the importance of cultivating mushroom by women of the villages as this does not require much labour if done in the proper way.

“I and other women of our self-help group have been able to become financially independent after we started cultivating mushroom and now we are reaping additional benefits by re-lending the money on interest,” said Rajita Engti, secretary of Jeuti Self-help Group of Maghoapara, a village near Gorchuk, and trained by Eco Concept.

Organized by Eco Concept, the training was also graced by Rani Block Development Officer Ananda Kumar Das, who highlighted the success stories of a number of farmers of Assam who had made exemplary profits with humble investment in different agricultural ventures.

Citing the example of Swapan Paul of Hajo, who excelled in flower cultivation and has become an epitome of entrepreneurship and self-driven initiative among his village people, Das urged the participants to take up mushroom cultivation as this provides immense opportunity for self-employment with handsome profits. It needs to be mentioned that Eco Concept has also been provided space for a training centre cum farm yard for demonstration of mushroom cultivation in the block development area premises.

Speaking on the difficulties in mushroom cultivation, Nilutpal Das, president of Eco Concept said, “The potential of mushroom cultivation has not achieved the desired pace of growth in the region due to the non-availability of quality spawn, but now with the support of the laboratory received from CSIR-NEIST, we hope to meet the expectations to the best of our abilities.”

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