Hard work with positive attitude is the prime force behind success as proved by the educated farmer, Mr. Nurul Islam of Keotkuchi village, about 20 KM away from Howly town in Barpeta district. He owns only 1 bigha of land including his residence. He earns his livelihood by serving as teacher in a private school at Keotkuchi village with a salary of Rs. 3000/- PM.
In the year 2015, he first came in contact with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Barpeta. He came to know about the scope and profit from mushroom cultivation and its potentiality as sustainable source of income. Through a demonstration programme on fresh mushroom production organized by KVK, Barpeta he took interest in mushroom cultivation. He started mushroom cultivation with 1 kg of spawn, which he got from KVK Barpeta for the first time. Initially, he earned Rs. 3000/- per month by selling fresh oyster mushroom from his home. But, afterwards he faced the problem in procuring mushroom spawn during peak season. Procuring spawn from outside the state like West Bengal also involved high cost. He approached KVK scientists seeking a solution to this situation.
After discussing with KVK Scientists, he came to know that there is a huge demand for spawn not only in Barpeta but also in different parts of Assam. So he decided to participate in a skill development training organized by KVK during 21st to 24th June 2016 along with 9 other youths from different parts of the district. After attending the training, Mr. Islam decided to establish a low cost mushroom spawn production unit at home. Looking at the interest and enthusiasm of Mr. Islam, KVK Barpeta decided to extend support to make him technically efficient in producing spawn. Accordingly, he developed a low cost spawn producing unit with minimum inputs like pressure cooker as sterilizer, conical flask, culture tubes, petri plates, PDA powder, alcohol, cotton, sodium hypochloride, spirit lamp and a specially designed inoculation chamber made of glass & wood.
Impact of intervention:
Mr. Islam started producing mushroom spawn from August 2016. Initially, he produced 30 kg spawn per month and used the spawn for fresh mushroom production of his own. At the same time, Mr. Islam took initiative for marketing his produce through distributing leaflet containing information about nutritional and medicinal value of mushroom with advice and assistance from KVK. This effort resulted in easy sale of his produce thus finding out the ways for assured marketing. Now, Mr. Islam is getting demand from different growers for spawn. So, he started increasing the quantity of production to meet the demand. KVK is also helping him in having market of spawn by linking SHGs and fresh mushroom growers trained under KVK. In August 2016 to March 2017, he earned Rs.80, 000/- by selling about 2.5 q fresh mushroom and 3 q mushroom spawn.
Mr. Islam is satisfied with his efforts and planning to expand his enterprise with more scientific interventions. He wants to establish one sophisticated mushroom spawn laboratory with scientific instruments like laminar air flow cabinet, incubator and autoclave. This requires a huge financial support and KVK has approached Lead District Manager, UCO Bank Barpeta for an agricultural credit. He believes this will not only make him able to grow his business, but also will create employment to another two youths round the year.
Mr.Islam with his efforts now meeting only 10 per cent of demands for mushroom spawn in the district. With the sophisticated lab what he is contemplating if established, he would definitely meet a large portion of the demand, he opines. So far, with a monthly income of Rs. 10,000/- he has become a successful entrepreneur and an inspiration for the youths.
This success has now lead Mr. Islam to set up a bigger fresh mushroom and spawn production unit with a plan to increase the production up to 300 kg of fresh mushroom and 100 kg of spawn per month so that he can increase his income up to 4.0 lakhs per season.