Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula Edodes) having medicinal qualities are now being grown by farmers at Solan in Himachal Pradesh.
The farmers have started growing Shiitake mushrooms in the area after the scientists of the Directorate of Mushroom Research in Chambaghat in Solan, proved them of having anti-cancer and anti-HIV agents.
In the first stage, the scientists gave the mushroom spawns to the farmers on trial basis. The farmers were successful in growing these medicinal mushrooms.
According to Satish Kumar, a scientist at the Directorate of Mushroom Research, these mushrooms have extensive medicinal qualities. They help to improve the immune system and also contain anti- viral, anti- bacterial and anti-fungal agents.
"We have been conducting research to cultivate the medicinal mushroom for the last few years. We have developed the perfect cultivation technique for the Shiitake mushrooms. Now, we are growing these with the farmers on a trial basis. We grow these mushrooms on damp saw dust," said Kumar.
He added that the temperature of the area is suitable for growing such kind of mushrooms. These mushrooms are grown at a temperature of 22 to 24 degree Celsius.
"Shiitake mushrooms are not only for satisfying our taste buds but they have immense amount of medicinal qualities. It has anti-viral and anti-tumour medicinal value. We have been researching on button mushrooms too, but now we have developed medicinal mushrooms like Shiitake. After knowing the medicinal qualities of Shiitake, we started doing research on that and have successfully developed a technique to grow them," said Manjeet Singh, director of the Directorate of Mushroom Research.
Japan and China are the largest producers of Shiitake Mushrooms, while in India the production is confined to the northeastern region as the button mushrooms have more market than Shiitake.
The Shiitake mushrooms are valued at 600 rupees to 800 rupees per kilogram in Indian markets, which is very profitable for the farmers. By Hemant Chauhan (ANI)