A few years have passed since I visited the TNAU university the last time.
It is impressing to see the further development steps they have taken in mushroom growth, research and most of all on how to engage Self-help groups to take up the idea.
Mushroom growth – income generation for the poor
Meanwhile earlier the focus was on research on nutrients and other benefits, on how to conserve longer certain types of mushrooms, best growth conditions etc …. they have shifted and started a lot of additional activities now.
“We are doing a lot of trainings with Self- help groups on why mushrooms and the growth of mushrooms is important. I’m really happy because I see the impact it can have on their nutrition and also their income generation,” explains the professor. Her assistant demonstrates us how the mushroom planting is done. “You need paddy straw, some seed and a plastic bag… during the growth you have to spray sprinkles of water on the holes regularly …The interesting thing is the vertical planting in bags. It allows to grow mushrooms also in little spaces/shelters only. Self- help groups often have no land on where to build mushroom shelters,” she adds.
A 0,5 kg bag makes a difference
Our colleagues ask about the weight of such a mushroom bag and the health- related advantages of mushrooms.
Mushrooms can definitely reduce malnutrition. They have a lot of medicinal properties: no fat, low calories and a lot of minerals and vitamins. They help with knee and joint problems, too. “If our children in poor families start to eat one mushroom per day, their overall health status will be much better,” adds the professor.
“If families in need produced 30 kg per day it would be a sufficient income for 4 people. But it’s not that easy. Often people do not consider mushrooms as vegetarian food. That’s one of our biggest struggles. And then there is also a huge lack of awareness, they simply don’t know that they could invest in it…”
In the laboratory we can see all the mushroom varieties. It’s an amazing collection. There is a huge product range coming up.
I’m looking forward to come back again here in the future. It’s a solution we all should definitely share and scale.