Began With Simply Rs 36, Odisha Man’s Mushroom Farm Now Earns Lakhs


Parked proper exterior the distinguished BJB Faculty in Odisha, a younger man was promoting mushrooms in small baskets on the road. This invited resentment from a number of college students and the professors.

The person was Santosh Mishra, an alumnus of the identical school.

Having graduated in rural improvement in 1988, he wished to pursue a masters. However with out cash for additional research, he turned to cultivating mushrooms. That day, he was questioned about his talents.

“On the school, I used to be recognized for my educational excellence, singing, and sports activities. When individuals noticed me promoting mushrooms on the road, they objected and requested what I used to be doing. That day, individuals mocked me however I made a decision that in the future, they’d recognise me for this work and I might make the state proud with it,” Santosh, now 56, tells The Higher India.

Santosh is setting up a Rs 2 crore processing plant to process mushrooms into pickles, biscuits, and even noodles!
Santosh is organising a Rs 2 crore processing plant to course of mushrooms into pickles, biscuits, and even noodles!

As we speak, Santosh is a proud mushroom farmer who has gained a number of accolades for his work like receiving a state award in 2005, a national-level award from the Indian Council for Agricultural Analysis (ICAR) in 2011, the World Agriculture Award on the Gujarat Summit in 2013, and the Odisha Citizen Award in 2019.

First harvest: Three items of mushrooms

Raised together with 4 siblings by a main faculty trainer, Santosh needed to give up his desires of upper training as a consequence of monetary constraints. For a quick interval, he labored as a supervisor the place he says he was compelled to deliver tea for his juniors and sweep the flooring.

An upset Santosh remembered a scientist who visited his village and showcased the worthwhile cultivation of mushrooms. So, he determined to take up mushroom cultivation thereafter.

In 1989, Santosh attended a mushroom farming coaching programme on the Odisha College of Agriculture & Expertise (OUAT) in Bhubaneswar. With Rs 36 in his pocket, he purchased 4 bottles of mushroom spawn and started his entrepreneurial journey. “Over financial funding, my key funding was psychological braveness,” says the Dandamukundapur resident of Puri district.

Every day, Santosh is able to produce 2,000 bottles of spawn.
On daily basis, Santosh is ready to produce 2,000 bottles of spawn.

Sadly, he may solely get three items of mushrooms in distinction to the promised 4 kg produce. “I used to be disheartened however I centered on understanding the error. I understood that as I didn’t sterilise both the soil or my palms earlier than making ready the mushroom mattress, I obtained a really poor yield. Sterilisation contains the primary part of mushroom cultivation. With trial and error, now I rise up to 7 kgs from one mattress,” he provides.

As we speak, Santosh has arrange a spawn production-cum-training centre in his village. On daily basis, he is ready to produce 2,000 bottles of spawn. His produce just isn’t solely offered throughout Odisha but additionally in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Assam, and Puducherry. With this, he earns at the least Rs 10 lakh yearly.

Santosh shares that he’s organising a Rs 2 crore processing plant to course of mushrooms into value-added merchandise like pickles, biscuits, papad, soup powder, and even noodles!

Cultivating unusual & vibrant mushrooms

Not like the frequent button number of mushroom, Santosh cultivates spawns of two varieties: oyster mushroom and paddy straw mushroom. 

Explaining the benefit over button selection, he says, “In comparison with button mushrooms, we develop paddy selection because it prices us Rs 100 to domesticate 1 kg of paddy selection. Whereas there are extra bills in button mushrooms that require central air con, humidifiers, and a big area.”

“Aside from this, we’ve got beneficial weather conditions to domesticate paddy selection. This selection requires a temperature of 23-30 levels and 90 p.c humidity. We instantly develop it within the open beneath coconut timber not like button mushrooms that require shade. Additionally, it takes solely 15 days to develop,” he provides.

Santosh grows unique colourful mushroom and paddy variety of mushrooms.
Santosh grows distinctive vibrant mushroom and paddy number of mushrooms.

Apparently, Santosh grows mushrooms in a variety of colors, not simply white! 

“In 2000, I collected pink, blue, white, and gray colored spawns from a analysis institute in Solan. These are additionally edible and are priced on the similar charge. We get a variety of guests to tour inside our vibrant mushroom baagh (backyard),” he says with pleasure.

Preventing the annual disasters

Earlier than reaping income, Santosh has borne quite a few hardships, one in every of them being pure calamities. “It’s not unknown that yearly, Odisha is hit by cyclones. This brings us an enormous monetary value. The 1999 tremendous cyclone had turned my mushroom manufacturing centre into particles. By 2019, we have been in a position to handle a month-to-month revenue of Rs 30,000. However the Fani cyclone (thought of the worst tropical cyclone publish the 1999 tremendous cyclone) destroyed my centre. I’ve witnessed eight cyclones devastate all my laborious work. After each cyclone, we’ve got to kick off the work once more from scratch. I needed to even mortgage my spouse’s jewelry to restart work,” he provides.

Santosh has trained about 10,000 women under the Odisha government’s Mission Shakti for free.
Santosh has educated about 10,000 girls beneath the Odisha authorities’s Mission Shakti totally free.

From the preliminary centre constructed utilizing coconut leaves, a tin shed, and a thatched roof, Santosh has now established a 3,000 sq ft concrete cyclone-resistant construction comprising a coaching corridor, incubation chamber, and by-product processing unit.

In the meantime, Santosh says, he has additionally educated about 10,000 girls from low socio-economic backgrounds beneath the Odisha authorities’s Mission Shakti totally free. Aside from girls, a lot of working professionals and school college students from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh attain out to him for coaching.

Speaking in regards to the influence of his work, Santosh says, “There has not been a single day in my life that I didn’t dedicate myself to the service of others and make my state proud with my work. At the very least within the final moments of my life, I will likely be extraordinarily gratified to know that.”

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All photographs: Santosh Mishra


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