The best thing about mushroom farming is that it doesn’t need huge investment and requires less space and allows for harvest within three weeks of the casing.
Mushroom farming is a sustainable practice that conserves natural resources and promotes the recycling of agricultural and agro-industrial waste. This makes mushrooms one of the most sustainable foods on the planet.
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Types of mushrooms grown in India.
In India, three types of mushrooms are primarily cultivated,
- Button mushroom
- Oyster mushroom
- Paddy straw mushrooms
Button mushrooms also known as white or baby mushrooms, are popular and versatile, commonly used in various dishes like salads, soups, and pizza toppings etc. They make up a significant portion of mushroom production.
Paddy straw mushrooms are the most consumed globally, primarily grown in Southeast Asia. They are profitable to cultivate and thrive on paddy straw.
Oyster mushrooms are easy to grow and have health benefits. They can be cultivated with minimal effort compared to button mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms prefer a moderate temperature and humidity, with specific growing seasons depending on the region.
Steps involved in farming mushrooms
Each type of mushroom requires different cultivation methods. Here we take button mushrooms as an example. These are the steps involved in mushroom cultivation.
- Making Compost.
- Synthetic Compost
- Natural Compost
- Filling the Compost in Trays
To grow mushrooms, the first step is composting, which is done on raised platforms made of concrete. The compost yard should be covered to protect it from rainwater.
There are two types of compost: natural and synthetic.
Synthetic compost includes wheat straw, bran, urea, calcium ammonium nitrate/ammonium sulfate, gypsum etc. While natural compost consists of cow dung, poultry manure, wheat straw, gypsum etc.
The ingredients are mixed, spread on the composting yard, and turned every three days with a sprinkling of water.
Once the compost is ready, it is filled into trays and spawned with mushroom mycelium. The trays are covered with newspapers and sprinkled with water for moisture.
Casing soil, made of cow dung and garden soil, is spread on top, and the temperature is maintained.
After around 20 days, pinheads appear, which develop into mushrooms within a few days.
The mushrooms are harvested by gently twisting off the caps and removing the base of the stalk.
Proper hygiene and ventilation are important throughout the process for successful mushroom cultivation.
Investment Required for Mushroom Farming
You can start a small-scale mushroom farm with an investment of around 50 thousand rupees.
The cost of a mushroom farming business depends on various factors, including the size of your farm, the equipment used, the type of mushroom cultivated, etc.
The main expenses include equipment purchases, spawn (eggs) purchases, compost costs, labour charges, and utility bills such as electricity and water.
Subsidies for Mushroom Cultivation in India
The RKVY Scheme offers financial assistance for various aspects of mushroom cultivation through five different programs. Here are the simplified details of each program:
1: Small-Scale Mushroom Production Unit
Subsidy: Up to 40% of the total cost, with a maximum limit of Rs. 11,250 per unit.
Total cost per unit: Rs. 28,125.
2: Hi-tech Milky Mushroom Production Units
Subsidy: Up to 40% of the cost, with a maximum limit of Rs. 1,00,000 per unit.
Total cost per unit: Rs. 2,50,000.
3: Minimal Processing and Value Addition Units of Mushroom
Subsidy: Up to 40% of the total cost, with a maximum limit of Rs. 40,000 per unit.
Total cost per unit: Rs. 1,00,000
4: Small-Scale Mushroom Spawn Production Units
Subsidy: Up to 40% of the entire cost, with a maximum limit of Rs. 2,00,000 per unit.
Total cost per unit: Rs. 5,00,000.
5: Vermicompost Units for Compost Production
Subsidy: Up to 50% of the cost, with a maximum limit of Rs. 50,000 per unit (based on size or pro-rata basis).
Total cost for creating compost: Rs. 1,00,000 (with dimensions 30’x8’x2.5′).
These programs aim to provide financial support and incentives for individuals and businesses involved in mushroom cultivation and related activities in India
Challenges in Mushroom Farming
Mushroom growth depends on pH levels, temperature, and moisture. Maintaining a neutral to slightly acidic environment (pH 5-8) is crucial.
However, challenges arise due to sunlight, oxygen, and temperature control. Indoor cultivation can lead to unpleasant odours and contamination risks. Proper sterilization is necessary to prevent pests and ensure a healthy crop.
We hope this article will help you to start a mushroom farm in India. If you have any suggestions, please mention them in the comment box