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Scope of Mushroom Cultivation in India

Mushroom cultivation is one of the most significant agribusinesses in the world. It is also very profitable as it can be started with a low investment and small space.

KJ Contributor
Fresh Mushrooms

Mushroom cultivation is one of the most significant agribusinesses in the world. It is also very profitable as it can be started with a low investment and small space. Mushroom cultivation is an up and coming source of alternative income for many agripreneurs in India. The US, China, Italy and the Netherlands are the top producers of mushrooms in the world and Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Kerala are the top mushroom growing states in India.

In the past few years there has been a huge shift towards commercial mushroom cultivation, as  many working professionals and youngsters alike have gravitated towards mushroom farming as a viable alternative source of income. As a source of income mushroom farming has proven to be quite profitable to the cultivators and agripreneurs. Mushroom farming has seen an increase in the number of first-time agripreneurs starting a commercial mushroom cultivation venture, as well as growing consumer demand.

While the most obvious use of mushrooms is seen in the culinary industry, processed foods, FMCG, and households, mushrooms are also gaining popularity in the pharmaceutical industry. Thus expanding the scope of sales for the people who are cultivating mushrooms on a commercial level. Some mushrooms are fortified with rare minerals and the medicinal qualities of certain mushroom varieties can be sold at high prices.

The earning potential can greatly vary from one variety of mushroom to another. However, the average earning potential out of a kilo of mushrooms can be placed anywhere between Rs. 300 to Rs. 350, wherein on average, the cultivator can expect to offset around Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 as cost. This leaves one with a profit of around Rs. 200 per kilo which can be much higher when it comes to varieties that are native to other countries, such as shiitake and portobello.

When it comes to medicinal varieties of mushrooms, the costs increase massively, the profit jumps up exponentially and one can expect to earn at a much higher potential. However, it should be kept in mind that the medicinal varieties require much more maintenance when it comes to storage conditions. They also require a sophisticated set-up and it is advised to work with these varieties after gaining some experience as a mushroom cultivator. Although one can also delve into such varieties if one has a budget high enough to outsource the technical tasks to seasoned experts.

One can also take up training in mushroom cultivation from experts with a number of years on their experience chart. Professional training can help a new agripreneur or even a mushroom hobbyist understand the intricacies involved in producing the perfect batch of mushrooms in their own space at their own level. India has identified the MSME space as the most viable segment of the entrepreneurial community and is encouraging more people to enter it by educating entrepreneurs on the various licenses (FSSAI registration, trade licence, and so on) and GST registration-related compliances.

Requisites of mushroom cultivation

The steps mentioned below can be applied to most edible varieties of mushroom, but some details may vary from one kind to another:


Mushroom spawn is basically anything that promotes mushroom growth because it is infused with mycelium, and mycelium is the mushroom cultivation equivalent of a seed. Spawn is essentially the carrier of this seed-like mycelium, and it must be placed in an environment conducive to mushroom sprouting. In the case of mushroom cultivation, mycelium-infused spawn is placed in a substrate rather than soil. A mushroom substrate is a material in which mushroom mycelium can grow and colonise. The substrate provides the nutrients, moisture, and energy that mushrooms require to grow and fruit. Growers use a wide range of different substrates.

Substrate preparation

Before inoculating a substrate with mushroom spores or mycelium, it must first be prepared. Water must be added to the substrate, and additional nutrients may be required. When that is complete, the substrate must be sterilised or pasteurised. This kills off any competing mould or bacteria, giving the desired mushroom species the best chance of taking hold. Mushroom substrate can be used in a variety of different containers. Substratum is typically packed into large clear plastic bags by commercial growers. Once the substrate has been pasteurised or sterilised and placed in its final container, it is time to inoculate with mushroom spawn or spores to begin the growing process

Observing the incubation conditions

It is the time when mushrooms emerge from the spawn and this period varies from variety to variety. In terms of ensuring quality produce, this is possibly one of the most important steps in the mushroom cultivation process to ensure good fruiting. Most mushrooms thrive in the dark, and if they must be inspected, they should be inspected with as little exposure to light as possible or under blacklight. Temperatures and moisture are two other factors that must be considered carefully. What temperature is best for a particular mushroom depends on the species, but as a general rule, 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit is the widely accepted range.

Sprouting stage

This stage's requirements differ from those of the incubation stage. Mushrooms require a lot of sunlight and humidity to be fruit-wide and dense. However, the temperatures required are typically lower than those required for incubation. Again, these requirements may vary depending on the variety being grown, making it difficult to provide a general rule. This course is recommended for understanding the nuances of different varieties that you can realistically grow in India. Usually, the mycelium is left in much cooler temperatures for about a day before it fruits. The bags are then cut open to allow the sprouts to grow into large, voluminous mushrooms.

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