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Mushroom farming opens up new avenues for unemployed youth in J-K


August 14, 2011 - Jammu

The growing demand for mushrooms has opened up new opportunities for unemployed youth in Jammu and Kashmir.

A large number of people have taken up mushroom cultivation due to low initial investment and high returns.

The biggest advantage of mushroom farming is that it can be cultivated indoors in the absence of an agricultural land.

"In spite of being educated, I was unable to find employment. I went to the Department of Agriculture, where I was told about mushroom farming. The biggest advantage in mushroom farming is that there is no need for agricultural land, as cultivation can be done indoors. The investment required is not very high, and the returns are very good," said Naresh Kumar, a mushroom farmer.

Since several strains of edible mushrooms are available, the farmers could choose to cultivate them throughout the year.

The annual production of mushrooms in Jammu and Kashmir has risen from 6000 quintals to 8000 quintals in the past three years.

The farmers also lauded the efforts of the Department of Agriculture for taking the initiative in popularising mushroom farming.

The department provided them with over 5000 mushroom cultivation trays last year.

"We are trying to popularise mushroom cultivation. We prepare the spawn (seed) required for growing mushrooms and provide it to farmers. Apart from organising awareness programmes, we also provide many incentives. For example, a new farmer requires 150,000 rupees for setting up a basic unit. We cover half the cost," said Ajay Khajuria, Director, Department Of Agriculture, Jammu.

Mushrooms retails for 150 rupees a kilogramme and even more in the market assuring farmers of a tidy profit.

ANI

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