Advanced training and technology to mushroom growers were imparted by authorities in Kashmir in a bid to boost production and for the benefit of farmers.
According to the Project Coordinator at Mushroom Center Srinagar, S.R. Gadotra, farmers faced a lot of problems due to usage of the iron and wooden racks for mushroom production, last year.
In this backdrop, the agricultural experts introduced a new technique using polythene bags to grow mushrooms and increase the production.
"Firstly, the polythene bags are really cheap and easily available in the market. Secondly, there isn't much of investment in this as well. If we talk about plastic, wooden or iron tray, there is a lot of investment required in that which our farmers can't afford, so the polythene bags are the best alternative. The response that we are getting from farmers is really good," said Gadotra.
A grower, Ali Mohammad, expressed that boost in mushroom production could become viable source of income for the farmers and for the unemployed youth.
"If our production increases, we will not have to import mushrooms from outside. There is a lot of scope for mushroom production here, if the production gets a boost, there will be more employment also and we will benefit from this," said Mohammad.
Generally, Kashmir does not produce mushrooms in abundance and often imports from outside due to its great demand in the region.
"The agriculture department called me here to learn. I saw that the trays that were made from wood and iron were very expensive and the new technique of using the polythene bags is far cheaper and is very beneficial for the growers and is more productive," said another mushroom grower Mohammad Shafi Wani.
The government is taking several initiatives to increase the mushroom production in the valley, such as establishing more mushroom cultivation units in both government and private sector.