Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], November 9 (ANI): Farmers especially women as well as youngsters in the Udhampur district are practising mushroom farming on a large scale and are reaping benefits of it.
With this, farmers are improving their financial status.
The Government set a target to double the income of farmers by 2022. To achieve the goal, the government is focusing on improvement in crop productivity, improvement in livestock productivity, resources used inefficiency or saving in the cost of production, increase in the cropping intensity, diversification towards high value, shift from farm to non-farm occupation and improvement in real prices received by farmers.
Subash Chander, a mushroom farmer in Udhampur told ANI, "I am practising mushroom cultivation for the last 15 years and I have been helped a lot by the Mushroom Development Department. They guide me on how to do the work. I have also employed other people and thus they too are earning their livelihood. My children are also involved in this work and are earning their livelihood. Mushroom cultivation is a good employment source and if people start practicing it, they can earn their livelihood. Women in the district also have shown keen interest in Mushroom cultivation. After receiving proper training, they are now heading towards the path of self-reliance."
Jyoti Sharma, a mushroom farmer told ANI, "We learnt this work (of mushroom cultivation) in February this year at Jammu and Kashmir Rural Self Employment (Training Institute). Sunil Gupta (Assistant at Mushroom Development Department) used to train us. Earlier we were not aware of mushroom cultivation but then we got trained and today we are cultivating it for the first time. Along with me, there are a few more women from my village who are cultivating it. Today, Sunil Gupta has also come who is telling us how spawning is done. Other women are also getting trained. If we are able to earn through this, then we will feel self-dependent and I would like to guide other ladies as well (in future)."
"Mushrooms don't require a separate land and are mostly grown indoors. They can be cultivated in all weathers by providing the suitable temperature and light conditions and give good returns. Moreover, with low investment, less space and high profitability, mushroom cultivation can play an important role in fulfilling PM Modi's dream of doubling farmers' income by 2022," she added.
An official of Udhampur's Mushroom Developmental Department said that mushroom growers are increasing in the district with many youngsters opting for its farming.
Sunil Gupta, an assistant working at Mushroom Development Department in Department of Agriculture, Udhampur said, "In Udhampur, the mushroom growers/farmers have increased this year as compared to the previous year and for this rise, the contribution of women and youngsters is quite significant. We have tried that farmers had another source of livelihood as well and get involved in activities other than agriculture because if we want their income to be increased, practising integrated farming is a must. Moving on the same lines, we adopted this mushroom farming and in our district and it was really impactful."
Anil Sharma, a mushroom farmer in Udhampur told ANI, "I am doing this work for the last 7-8 years along with my studies. At present, I am in my final year of graduation. I get up at five in the morning to take mushrooms and then I go to the vegetable market in Udhampur to sell them. After that, I come back and manage the shop along with my study."
"The cultivation of mushrooms was started in Jammu and Kashmir in 1964 by the Department of Agriculture, Kashmir. As the Jammu region has a high scope for mushroom cultivation due to its diverse agro-climatic conditions and availability of raw material, it can be a great employment source for the locals," he said. (ANI)