Shillong (Meghalaya) , Nov 5 : The first ever Mushroom Festival of the State themed ‘Mushroom Cultivation for Income Generation’ was held here today at All Saints ’ Catherdral Hall , here.
The state is rich in wild edible mushrooms. Local folks of the Khasi Hills collect them from forest areas.
The ethnic tribal population have extensive knowledge based on the edible mushrooms they sell in the local markets. Throughout history, these people have learnt and gathered practical knowledge on how to identify mushrooms that are edible and know which to avoid.
There are about 11 different species of wild edible mushrooms that were identified in the state . These wild traditional mushrooms are consumed by the villagers and at times sold in the local markets.
Edible Mushrooms are identified by features such as their body form, cap, spore- bearing surface, stipe, veils and odor.
With so many species available in the state the government is trying to implement the Meghalaya Mushroom Mission which aims to scale up mushroom production in a mission mode to exploit the full potential of the sector and bring about economic prosperity and livelihood security to the mushroom farming community of the State.
Minister, Agriculture & Horticulture Banteidor Lyngdoh who the Chief Guest said that due to its high value and low characteristic, availability of a growing local market and its potential for export the Mushroom Mission would expand the cultivation of Mushroom in the State adding that the target to be achieved under the mission will increase the production from the present 27 MT to 5000 MT within 5 years.
The festival was organised to create awareness about mushroom cultivation as an alternate income generating activity as well as an activity that can be integrated into the farm business to enhance farm income.
The plus points of consuming mushrooms helps in nutritional concerns of the State in terms of protein and vitamin deficiencies.
The Minister also released the Meghalaya Draft Mushroom Mission during the occasion.
The objective of the Mission is to scale up mushroom production in the State through a cluster approach, to diversify the dietary patterns of the State so that nutrition and health of the citizens is improved and to focus on the value addition of mushroom and mushroom products for improved economic gain.
The Mission will focus on the production of Oyster Mushroom, Button Mushroom and Shiitake Mushroom. The mission will cost 50 crore for a period of 5 years and is cover 136 villages in mushroom cultivation in all the districts of the State.