Mushrooms are almost always there in the diet of people from Northeast. The mushroom varieties eaten here grow in the wild. With care, northeast can become the “mushroom bowl of the country.” This is a commodity which is a low-volume-high value venture and has a great potential to change the socio-economic condition of Northeast. Mushroom does not depend on the quality of arable land. As the whole cultivation can be done indoors, women folk can get involved and benefit in a great way from this economically.
- Mushrooms like Dhingri (Oyster) and Milky (Calocybe) can be cultivated very easily and do not require much infrastructure.
- Climatic condition (5-35 degree centigrade) suitable for all mushroom types.
- Humidity quotient is always above 60%.
- Mushroom marketing in the neighboring countries can be easily done.
- Closed, dark brick or thatched or mud room is enough to grow these.
- Growers have to keep plastic bags for spawn run (myelial colonization) of oyster mushroom.
- Investment cost for this whole process is Rs. 50 a kg for the seeds.
- The paddy straw mushroom is the easiest to grow and grows in 6-7 days.
- The most profitable mushroom to grow are the button mushroom (Agaricus bispora) and Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.), paddy straw mushroom, and milky mushroom.
- Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushroom is a variety only cultivated in Northeast region.
- Phorid Flies – the Mushroom flies pose a constant problem for this crop. Complete sealing of the spawning room, use of vinegar and pesticide can cure this problem.
- Verticillium, mildew, trichoderma, bacterial blotch, nematodes, and viruses are the common threats to mushroom cultivation. Maintenance of proper sanitation, very careful control of humidity, and temperature can prevent these infections.
The scope of mushroom farming in the North East is quite promising. North East India can cultivate this kind of crops provided good care is taken post-harvest for processing and marketing of the mushrooms and is gaining popularity. The mini-mission of Horticulture for the Northeast has been taken up besides the main Horticulture mission of the Central Government. It has a huge prospect of generating jobs for the young generation as farm workers and the farmers may gain economically if they grow it as a rotational crop.