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How can India become a mushroom superpower ?

Mushroom : Three years ago Florida Eka who lives near Sali Gowdi in the Indian state of West Bengal was worried that she would have to find a new source of income somehow.

Her husband had died. Her seasonal picking of tea leaves was not enough to support her family.

To make money she would come up with new ideas day & night. They even learned about mushroom cultivation. He started mushroom with the help of Leo Life Happily a rural development organization in India.


She now sells 2 to three bags of her mushroom crop every day earning her about ً92 a month or more than 7,000 Indian rupees.

White flowered mushrooms are grown in large bags that hang from ceiling. There are usually ten rows of bags hanging in Mrs. Ika house which produces about 48 bags of mushrooms a month.

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It is great to see him grow up because I know my family and I won not be sleeping on an empty stomach anymore she says.

How can India become a mushroom superpower'?


Growing mushrooms has made a big difference in Mrs. Eka life but some say the crop should play a major role in India farming sector.

Mushrooms are grown in large baskets & hung from the roof or thatch

Rauf Hamza Boda has spent 20 years identifying about 100 species of mushrooms in Jammu and Kashmir. India has al necessary elements to become a superpower in mushroom production he said.

India has a very diverse stock of wild mushrooms he explains. There is a lot of fertilizer material while there is cheap labor and [it] can grow in a variety of climatic conditions.

Lack of desire mushrooms ?

Despite these favorable conditions India produces only 2% of the world mushroom production while China provides 75%.

Mr Boda said the problem in India in this regard was a matter of national hunger or desire. Many people in India do not like to eat mushrooms they find it strange & deadly.

There has not been much research on the identification of wild mushrooms for food he says.

Lack of awareness about the benefits of mushrooms & cheapness of mushroom cultivation are obstacles to popularizing its consumption.

Therefore there is plenty of room for aspiring businessmen to try their luck in this field.

Four years ago Lena Thomas and her son Jeetho experimented growing mushrooms in the bedroom.

Lena Thomas & her son Jeet grew curious mushrooms but it became their lucrative business.

Jaitho said he started the project out of curiosity when he saw mushrooms growing on a plastic bottle on the internet.

Early success prompted him to study & take courses in mushroom cultivation his interest grew rapidly into a lucrative business.

Now the mother and son living in Kerala have 2,000 beds of mushrooms from where they get 100 kg of mushrooms daily. He sells his mushrooms under the name Linaz Mushrooms & has a mushroom company with the same name.

He explains: There are many benefits to mushroom cultivation including its short growth period.

But that does not mean it's an easy task. The crop is delicate & highly sensitive. A minute change in temperature or the arrival of pests can completely destroy  crop.

The company greenhouses use fans to draw outside air on the moisture pads to keep the temperature & humidity at maximum levels. Carbon dioxide levels are also monitored.

But the hard work is worth it. He says good prices make mushrooms profitable.

Freshly spun mushrooms are sold to retailers on the same day without any middle link says Jaitho.

Premil Ramesh Udgave has taken a different approach. He studied microbiology for extensive and in depth knowledge of fungi culture.

In addition to growing mushrooms, his company founded in 2019 dries the crop to make bio bright mushroom powder & health related supplements.

Despite his success he says growing mushrooms is not easy.

People see mushrooms as a fast growing money making business but it's also important to combine them with technical skills he says.

According to Mr. Adgave many mushroom startups fail.

On the other hand Anirban Nandi & his wife Polmi Chaki Nandi a researcher in the field of rural development from IIT Kharagpur think that there is enough space for small players in  mushroom field.

Bio Right makes mushroom powder

Her NGO Leo Life Happily has shown more than 8,000 women in West Bengal including Florida Eka how to grow their own mushrooms for profit.

Mr Nandi says: These women are poor with no land & no adequate source of livelihood.

Many women in rural areas go home in financial trouble after becoming widows and are unable to earn enough money to pick tea leaves.

He says: Learning to grow mushrooms is a workable and manageable task. Women can grow it in a corner of their house as a part time activity or as a hobby even without a field.

Nandi couple says that there is a lot of demand for mushrooms among the customers. It is especially in demand in urban areas like Darjeeling & because of this it ensures immediate income says Mr Nandi.

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This extra income from mushrooms can really change lives.

Mrs. Nandi says: These women have gained the power of bargaining in their home & have become decision makers. One woman for example refused to marry her daughter at an early age because she was able to raise funds for her education by growing mushrooms.