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Quality spawns to boost mushroom farming

Staff Reporter


Severe shortage

of reliable quality spawns has affected farming

of mushroom

in the State


KOCHI: Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) will commission this month a facility for generating substantial quantity of mushroom spawns to boost mushroom farming in the State now hit by a severe shortage of reliable quality spawns.

A spokesperson for VFPCK said here that farmers interested in mushroom cultivation have been shying away from it because of shortage of spawns.

The new facility, coming up at the Council’s headquarters in Kakkanadu, will be an answer to the problem.

The spawn centre for Oyster mushroom (Chippikkoon) is being commissioned with an assistance of Rs.3 lakh from Kerala Horticulture Mission. VFPCK will pitch in the rest of the money for the Rs.10-lakh project.

The mushroom spawn centre will be a great opportunity for the more than one lakh farmers who are organised under nearly 6,000 self-help groups under the VFPCK.

Once the facility is fully functional, the mushroom spawn centre can produce 12 tonnes of spawns annually. These spawns will be packed in 250 gram bottles to be marketed across the State.

According to initial plans, each of the districts in the State can start 50 mushroom cultivation centres.

The availability of agriculture waste and weather conditions in the State are suited to mushroom cultivation. Mushrooms are rich sources of minerals and proteins and have been recommended for its high medicinal qualities.

The Council is ready to issue instructions on starting mushroom cultivation and to answer questions on the practices involved. Systematic training for mushroom farmers will take a little more time. Meanwhile, the Council has firmed up plans to set up a tissue culture laboratory for bananas at its seeds production unit at Alathur in Palakkad district.

The VFPCK spokesman said that the tissue culture laboratory would be commissioned this month and that early next year the first batch of planting materials would be ready.

Varieties like ‘Nendran,’ ‘Poovan’ and ‘Njalipoovan’ will be available from the new facility.

The Alathur seeds processing facility is expected to produce 30 tonnes of vegetable seeds this year in comparison to last year’s level of nearly 24 tonnes last year.

Two seed sub-centres are also being set up in the Kollangode and Kozhinjampara blocks of Palakkad district.

The VFPCK spokesman said that the council was now the biggest producer of vegetable seeds in the State and that it had introduced improved packaging of seeds and colouring to increase seed quality.

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