Mushroom cultivation is gaining huge popularity due to favorable weather condition in the country and experts call for encouraging the home-based practice to industrial level for bulk exports.
Experts who study mushroom in Bangladesh said that there are varieties of mushroom which can be used for their medicinal benefits to boost people’s immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may even be useful for treating cancer and other serious diseases.
They said that currently varieties of mushrooms grown at home and in small farms contribute to an estimated yearly Tk 800 crore business which has potentials of increasing it to triple or even higher amount if proper training and bank loans are arranged.
They said that there are huge prospects of mushroom cultivation as its demand is gradually growing, both at home and abroad. “There can be huge employment opportunities just by expanding mushroom cultivation,” said Professor Zehad Parvez of Department of Plant Pathology of Patuakhali Science and Technology University.
Professor Parvez, a leading researcher who has been studying varieties of mushrooms, said, “Button mushrooms or baby mushrooms (white in appearance) are by far the most common type of mushroom preferred by local people. It is easy to grow and relatively cheaper if grown in farms.”
He also mentioned that globally the most preferred mushroom is Agaricus bisporus. About 90 percent of the mushrooms we eat are of this variety around the world. Its flavor is mild, and that makes it more versatile. It can be eaten either raw or cooked and works well in soups, stews, salads.”
Being encouraged for financial benefit, many people have started cultivating mushroom and receiving training in order to make them competent.
According to the National Mushroom Development and Extension Center, nearly one and a half lakh people have been involved in the production and distribution of mushroom and mushroom related products.
On the other hand, all the economically prosperous countries of the world import mushrooms to fulfill their nutrition demand. There are many opportunities to export mushrooms from Bangladesh to different countries of the world.
Nirad Chandra Sarkar, Deputy Director of National Mushroom Development and Extension Center, said, “There is a huge demand for mushrooms in various hotels, super-shops, and restaurants in the big cities across the country.”
He said, “Anyone can start cultivating mushroom with small training. One can earn some extra income by cultivating mushrooms in addition to any work or job. Many people in the country have changed their fortunes by cultivating mushrooms.”
Agriculturalist Hasinur Rahman, mentioning about the bright prospects of planned mushroom farming said, “Mushrooms are a nutritious, tasty and have medicinal food benefits, yet no arable land is required for cultivation. Demand for mushroom as a food is increasing in Bangladesh, in this case, large quantities of mushrooms can be produced using a small amount of unproductive fallow land.”
“Moreover, the climate of Bangladesh is suitable for mushroom cultivation throughout the year. Cultivation is environmentally friendly and tolerant of natural disasters,” Hasinur added.
Citing economic leverage for the marginal and rural population, he believes that mushroom cultivation can also provide employment to a large number of people.