With all-time high production, mushroom emerging as new cash crop in Jammu and Kashmir

Mushroom production has seen a significant increase in Jammu and Kashmir and is expected to quickly overtake demand for the food product in the Union territory.

Agriculture Department officials said mushroom production has been at an all-time high in J&K for the past two years, to the extent that it is shaping up to be a new cash crop in the Union territory.

“We are one of the biggest consumers of mushrooms in Kashmir, but all of that would come from the outside. Production has multiplied in the last two years. From a previous single crop of around 40 to 50 units, production has increased to the point that we are producing two main crops in a year of around 1,500 units,” said Choudhary Mohammad Iqbal, Director, Agriculture, Kashmir.

He said they were trying to improve the livelihood of the youth by turning them into “mushroom entrepreneurs”.

“Mushrooms are produced everywhere, but the quality of the mushrooms we grow in Kashmir is important because the temperature here is ideal for their growth,” he said.

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The government says mushroom cultivation in the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (National Agricultural Development Program) is a focus area of ​​J&K, and growers are provided with quality seeds and trained in scientific cultivation techniques. The 50 percent subsidy and the technical knowledge of the administration make cultivation profitable for the growers.

Three main types of mushrooms are grown in the Union territory, including button mushrooms, milk mushrooms and dingri, grown either naturally or under controlled atmosphere.

dr Shabir-ur-rehman, researcher at the Integrated Mushroom Centre, Lal Mandi in Kashmir, said they have increased the number of input bags to 85,000 filled with brood (seeds) and compost to be made available to growers in 2021. have almost doubled -22 than 40,000 in 2019-20.

“In a market survey, we learned that the Valley consumed around 15 to 21 tons of mushrooms per day, of which only 15% was locally produced. But in the last two years production has increased rapidly and we are able to produce 40-50% of what we consume,” he said.


The department provided 85,550 bags of input to 860 growers who produced 1,538 quintals of mushrooms, while 627 growers received 62,000 bags with a production of 894 quintals in 2020-21.

In the Jammu Division the story is similar as the consumption of mushrooms multiplies due to the large numbers of Yatris (including Vaishno Devi) visiting the region.

“Production shows an increasing trend with new producers using high-end technology and high-tech structures. Mushrooms are grown here both under a controlled atmosphere and under a natural system as they are temperature and humidity dependent,” said Joint Director, Beekeeping and Mushroom Development, RK Hitashi.

“It’s a cash crop and multiplies growers’ income. We also offer a 50 percent subsidy, in addition to grower awareness and training,” he said.

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He said growers are also taught how to add value to their produce. “The production of dried mushrooms, their packaging or the production of pickles, all this is done with the involvement of self-help groups, which helps increase growers’ income,” he said.

Gucci wild mushroom collection is also very popular in Jammu. In the Shivalik mountains of the Jammu region, mushrooms (particularly gucchi) provide income security for farmers.

“With recent government interventions, forest dwellers in Jammu Shivaliks are receiving formal training and instruction on mushroom collection and processing techniques, market knowledge and market access so that their efforts reap their rightful share,” a government spokesman said.

“Women-led self-help groups are being promoted under the Hausla and Tejaswini entrepreneurship programs being implemented by the center in J&K,” he said.

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