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Kullus mushroom growers worry over depleting production
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Kullus mushroom growers worry over depleting production

The picturesque Kullu Valley is known for its cultivation of mushroom. But of late, inferior quality seeds supplied by government agencies have caused depleted production.

By Rajiv Kimta

Kullu, May 29 : The picturesque Kullu Valley is known for its cultivation of mushroom. But of late, inferior quality seeds supplied by government agencies have caused depleted production.

While the concerned authorities have rubbished the allegations, claiming that the seeds are thoroughly checked, mushroom farmers say that the U-3 and S-1 varieties of spawn, provided by the Himachal Pradesh State horticulture department, are of inferior quality and are demanding the latest A-15 strain.

"We have got records where people have grown four to five kilograms from a 20 kilogram bag, which is above the average production. But if some people want the seeds of a particular strain, they should write to us and procure it from us," said Nardev Thakur of the state horticulture department.

Small scale growers have also complained of disease-infested manure imported from neighbouring States, which they say has affected the quality and quantity of the produce.

"Earlier, the production was very good. It used to be around 100 quintals. The strain of mushroom seeds has now become outdated and because of the inferior strain, the production has come down to 60 quintals," said Karam Chand, a mushroom farmer.

Kullu is also known as the fungi hub of the country, the Himachal Pradesh Government annually provides around 800 tons of compost to growers.

Mushrooms are rich in protein and seen as an alternative to meat.

Mushroom cultivation was initiated in the late 60's in Himachal Pradesh, and has emerged as a major source of livelihood for the people of the Hilly State.

At present, mushroom cultivation is undertaken commercially in about eight major districts of Himachal Pradesh. The State produces 3,200 tons of mushrooms annually.

ANI

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