February 4: Farmers in Nawalparasi East have found their calling in mushroom farming. They are able to make good income from it.
Karna Lal Shrestha, a 61-year-old farmer, has been running an agro farm in Gaidakot Municipality-5 for two years.
Started with an investment of Rs 6.5 million on six katthas of land, the business has been generating at least Rs 100,000 in income per month for him. He has built three huts for the farming. The land and other spaces are taken in lease.
"I have been selling at least 20,000 kilograms of mushroom annually. I earned a minimum of Rs 100,000 per month in profit- excluding expenditures," he shared.
His age has not deterred him from the business. "Age is just a number. What you need is willpower and courage," he says.
A large amount of money was spent on building physical infrastructures for the business. The huts are used as rooms to store hay required for the farming, he said. Shrestha switched to the farming, finding it profitable after spending his 30 years' time with his father on another business. The farming is suitable during both winter and summer, and its market is also excellent, he said.
Shrestha is further encouraged when the municipality provided him an autoclave machine to steam hay at a subsidized rate of 50 percent. An autoclave machine costs Rs 1 million. "Mushroom farming is profitable than other farming. Mushroom grows and is ready for harvest in a span of 30 days. It provides good income," he explained.
Anita Neupane is also running the 'Anita Mushroom Farm' at Gaidakot-1. In the beginning, she faced hard times. But, with experiences over time, she has known the tricks of the trade, and is making adequate profit.
Her spouse joined her in the farming after he returned home from foreign job when COVID-19 struck the world. "I started the business after my husband returned from a job in Qatar during COVID-19. He has been very supportive. In the beginning, I suffered a loss. But, gradually I have made proceeds. Hard work is a must," she shared. The farming grows well during winter, according to Neupane.
She has been drawing between Rs 200,000 and Rs 300,000 annually in core income during winter.
Shivashakti Farmers' Group at Gaidakot-4 run by a group of 50 female farmers is another example of success in mushroom farming. The group started the farming four years ago with an investment of Rs 300,000.
Their engagement in the farming has spread the message of unity in agriculture, said the group's Chairperson Sangita Pandit.
Their continuous hard work has paid off well, she said, adding that the profit from the farming is used to run the group.
Even the local level turned supportive to the mushroom farmers by providing them subsidies, and launching various programmes targeting the business.
The municipality provided farmers with subsidies and concessional loans, and launched various programmes targeting the farming, said Surakshya Paudel, deputy technical assistant for the agriculture section in the municipality. So far, three mushroom farms have been registered at the municipality. -- RSS