Enhance Mushroom Production and Youth Engagement in Spawn Production as an Enterprise

October 25th, 2019

In line with the increasing demand for mushroom spawn and promoting mushroom cultivation in the region, the Mushroom Spawn Production Unit (MSPU) at Khangma was established in 2015 under the ARDC Wengkhar and technically linked to the National Mushroom Centre, Wangchutaba. On average, the unit produces 9,000 bottles of Shiitake and 4000 bottles of Oyster mushroom spawn in a year, with supports from various sources particularly CARLEP-IFAD since 2016-17 FY. Oyster mushroom production has increased by almost 36% in FY 2018-19.

CARLEP – IFAD extended supports in improving the tools and equipment, training and actual intensification of the mushroom cultivation in the region. Considering the potential of the crop and its suitability in the region, the MSPU at Khangma has started targeting farmers, schools and institutions both at a small scale as well as commercial-scale production. Since 2016 to 2019, with fund from CARLEP – IFAD, the unit has inoculated about 122,000 oak billets with Shiitake mushroom covering 237 growers and, about 27, 000 bags with an oyster mushroom on straw substrate covering about 100 growers. About 6 growers on commercial-scale have also initiated investment through credit support, opening up opportunities of credit investment in mushroom cultivation and promotion of mushroom enterprise.

With increasing uptake of mushroom cultivation by farmers, the requirement of mushroom spawn especially oyster mushroom spawn is on the rise. As there is an opportunity to promote oyster mushroom spawn production as an enterprise, the MSPU in 2018-19 FY began taking oyster spawn production targeting youths as an enterprise. The establishment of enterprise is not only in line with the objectives of the 12th FYP, but can also be a better strategy for the MSPU as more time will be provided to research and promotion if spawn production is gradually given to enterprises.

Youth Entrepreneurs Taking up Mushroom Spawn Production

Three young entrepreneurs with higher secondary education and bachelor’s degree were selected based on the location, interest of the individuals and field experiences. These entrepreneurs are placed in Pemathang and Langchenphu under Samdrup Jongkhar and, Tsakaling under Mongar. They were provided with hands-on training on how to produce mushroom spawn. In addition, a proper investment indicating both project and beneficiary contributions of the Spawn Production Unit was worked out. At initial, a unit will start with an annual target of 2000 bottles of spawn which will be upscaled based on demand. A total of Nu.387,450 per unit as shown in Table 1 was invested with 50:50 contributions between the project support and beneficiary contribution, excluding the charges on land as it was owned by entrepreneurs.  The project supports include equipment while the beneficiary contribution is mostly in infrastructures and a few other raw materials required for the enterprise.

Table 1. Cost of production of a spawn production unit

I ) Support through CARLEP-IFAD Project under ARDC-Wengkhar
Particular Quantity (No/kg) Rate    (Nu) Amount (Nu) Remarks
 A. Tools and Equipment (Fixed assets)
Autoclave 1 163,500 163,500 153 ltrs 103.4 Kpa (15psi)/121ᵒc
Laminar flow 1 5,000 5,000 Locally made
Rice cooker 1 10300 10,300 10 ltr
Spirit lamp 1 200 200
Create 1 500 500
Refrigerator 1 16000 16,000
Panel heater 1 3700 3,700
Total 199,200
B. Consumables (per annum)
Calcium carbonate 1 550 550
Total 550
Total cost = A+B 199,750
II) Beneficiary contribution
Particular Quantity (No/kg) Rate    (Nu) Amount (Nu) Remarks
 A. Tools and Equipment (Fixed assets)
 Bowl 1 450 450
Physical balance 1 300 300
Rubber band 1 350 350
Sprayer bottle 2 150 300
Wooden rack shelve 4 750 3000
Rubber band 1 350 350 (Per year)
Cotton 10 350 3500
Beer bottle 1000 1 1000 (Per month)
Total 8900
B. Chemicals (per annum)
Spirit/ethanol 2 100 200 70% alcohol
C. Substrate  (per month)
Wheat 200 40 8000
Total 8000
D. Labour 
Labour 2 300 600 As and when required or 6000/month/person
Total 600
E. Infrastructure
The total cost of infrastructure 1 170000 170000 Ekra wall structure with 3 rooms (1 inoculation room, 1 working room, and 1 incubation room). Inoculation room size is smaller than the other 2 rooms
Total 170000
Total cost (A+B+C+D+E) = 187700
Grand total cost (I+II) = 387,450

Except for Langchenphug’s entrepreneur, the other two have started producing commercial oyster mushroom spawn. At the moment, two entrepreneurs from Pemathang and Tsakaling are developing 650 and 1000 bottles of spawn respectively. In a year, these entrepreneurs will be able to develop about 2000 bottles of spawn. The spawn produced will then be sold to other farmers in the locality taking up oyster cultivation.

As the entrepreneurs are scaling up their production, the MSPU/ARDSC Khangma will scale down oyster spawn production and focus on other mushrooms spawn development and research. This will be done to encourage the full utilization of the spawns developed by entrepreneurs. Simultaneously, the MSPU will be monitoring their spawn production.

With the growing popularity, spawn production, oyster and shiitake cultivation is opening up opportunities to promote mushroom as an enterprise.

Tshering Dorji, Thinley Gyeltshen and Cheten Wangchuk, MPSU ARDSC Khangma


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