The second edition of the National Mushroom Day on December 23 was celebrated at Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR), Manipur Centre on Friday.
Director K Kipgen of State Horticulture Department was the Chief Guest of the occassion. Many scientists and officials of the ICAR Manipur centre and a number of mushroom farmers also attended.
Unlike the first edition, about 45 mushroom growers and producers from both hill and valley districts participated and deliberated on the importance of mushrooms as quality food and the potential of mushroom cultivation.
Horticulture Director K Kipgen, also expressed his desire to promote up-gradation of the mushroom cultivation besides instituting a new mushroom seeds unit considering the public demand.
Mushroom has no important issues in the marketing sector, but the farmers usually face the unavailability of mushroom seeds during its three seasons a year. Generally mushroom is cultivated in three seasons –December, June and September. Around 150 tonnes are produced in a season, according to Dr Sushil Kumar Sharma of ICAR Manipur centre.
Interestingly there are three mushroom species in Manipur. They are oyster, hshzygius and shiitake. Though the first two are widely cultivated in the region, shiitake variety which are endemic in Manipur and Nagaland is in the process of being produced in bulk for commercial purposes.
“Earlier people used to cultivate this species using wood logs. But after our intervention, it can be cultivated using saw-dust etc,” says Dr Sushil. “Besides the duration of the cultivation period has also been shortened from one year to just three months.”
A small exhibition was also organized within the ICAR campus during the day’s observation which was held under the theme “Mushroom cultivation: wealth from waste.”
Paddy residue and other agricultural and horticultural waste were utilised for the successful cultivation of mushroom in the state. Demand of mushroom is on the rise considering its taste and nutritional values in the region.