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Mushrooms for rural prosperity

Continuing education gets low priority in many universities. The TNAU, however, does things differently. One of its sought-after study modules deals with mushroom cultivation. M.J.Prabu discovers a promising formula for growth.

TO CREATE more awareness about different types of mushrooms, their cultivation techniques and their bio potentialities among the student community, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore (TNAU), has been doing pioneering work in the field of mushroom cultivation, research, training and extension since 1942.

According to G. Doraiswamy, Director of Extension Education, TNAU, Coimbatore "TNAU has been organising one-day training programmes since 1987 on mushroom cultivation for students. The training fee is Rs.100 per person."

A distance education programme of six months duration is also made available by the Directorate of Publications, TNAU. The course fee for joining this programme is Rs. 3,000, and it is specially designed for students.

"During the course period, three personal contact programmes are organised. Each personal contact programme will be held for two days — mainly Saturday and Sundays," says Prof. Alagesan.

Teachers who have specialised in mushroom production will conduct theory-cum-practical class for these contact sessions. Students must have passed their SSLC to be eligible to apply. The medium of instruction is Tamil.

According to Prof. Doraiswamy and Prof. T. Marimuthu in charge of conducting these courses, so far, 256 such programmes have been conducted and more than 20,000 people have been trained. In addition, skill-oriented training programmes of five days and 10 days duration are also conducted on request.

For these programmes, individuals are charged Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 5,000 respectively. This department also supplies test tube cultures and mushroom seeds including mother spawn and bed spawn to the growers. According to Prof. Alagesan, the course content covers `Kalan Valarpu'. It deals in detail the role of mushroom in integrated farming system, present status and future scope, varieties suited for culture, production of seed spawn and other commercial spawn production techniques."

Those who are interested may send their applications with the particulars of name with postal address, age, present employment status, two passport size photographs with registration fee of Rs. 3,000 in the form of demand draft, payable at the State Bank of India, TNAU Branch, Coimbatore, in favour of Director of Publications, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore - 641 003.

For further information, contact Director of Publications, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore - 641 003. Phone No.0422 - 5511429 / 5511229 / 5511202

A one-day training programme on edible mushrooms will be conducted by the Urban Horticulture Development Centre (UHDC) of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, on August 30. The venue is UHDC , New No. 9, Ramanathan Street, (opp. Pachiappa's College), New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, phone 26443551, Chennai-10, from 9.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

The programme is open to students and unemployed youth. The course covers production technology for edible mushrooms with special reference to oyster and milky mushrooms, details on investment and profit for small and largescale production units and preparation of various dishes from mushrooms.

There will also be demonstrations. Training certificates will be issued to all participants. Lunch and notes on mushroom cultivation will be provided. Rgistration fee is Rs. 300 a person.

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