FTB Stories

A Career in Mushrooms: Success with Hands on Training

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Pardeep Kumar

Pardeep Kumar was recently interviewed by Divya Kaimal on the FTB. Pardeep started by greeting all the farmers and viewers. His brand is focusing on mushrooms, especially button mushrooms, a subject he has learnt and worked on. He started farming mushrooms about a year back. He is a civil engineer by education but was not able to continue into this profession due to the Corona lockdown. Someone suggested mushrooms to him and he said why not and started farming with them. 

Why Agriculture, Why mushrooms

Divya asked him why he got into agriculture, to which he replied that it wasn't a logical decision, he had lot of free time on his hands and wanted to use this free time up. He also wanted to do something that will be worthwhile financially. He wanted to start something that will earn him income similar to his field of study. 

When asked about the difference in his mushrooms from that of other mushroom growers in his locality, he said most of the brands provide similar products and they all have their qualities. His mushrooms are local to his area while other mushrooms are brought from other states or cities. The quality of your mushrooms depends on the locality that you are in and the raw materials that you are using. How you are able to market your products is another factor. How quickly your raw materials come to you, how you procure spawns is also important. He analyzed everything before starting and found that there is a single producer of mushrooms in the district, so he thought of it as a great opportunity which can be profitable. He is now provider of fresh mushrooms in the district.

Mushrooms in Farm

Marketing Mushrooms

He was asked about where he sells his mushrooms and he replied the mandi. We probed him further by asking if he thought of expanding his business to other cities and states. He said he is new to the field and took up agriculture as he had nothing else to focus on. He hasn't thought of expansion yet and will think about it with more work experience in the field. 

Divya asked him next about the problems he has faced in this business, especially in sales. He said his biggest problem initially was lack of proper training. You may train yourself through YouTube or other mediums and everyone focuses on what they earn, their income. Some knowledge I gained from people I came in touch with. He started with 20 quintals of straw, he travelled a lot and went to nearby cities and collected what he needed. He said, yes, investment is easy but when you look at your earnings you need to look at the finer points, like maintaining temperature, the type of shelter to build. You get to hear that you can work with a normal shelter, sunlight is not required, so he worked based upon these oral advises. I watered the straw in the morning and then he was away for the day. A month and a half later he started another project with 60 quintals of straw. It might have suffered loss but for the advise and guidance of Sri Vidya Sagar, whom he met through a WhatsApp Group. He came and saw his situation and explained solutions in his own way.

Mushrooms in Stock

Future Plans 

When asked about his interest in selling online, he replied that he is working on the concept. It is work in progress. On his future plans with button mushrooms he said he wanted to suggest this business to farmers with limited access to land. Lack of knowledge let to some losses and with experience he made some profit. When you take home income of Rs 5,000 per day, its a much better option than a job. If you have the right knowledge and experience everything is possible. An income of Rs 5,000 per day over a 2,000 sq feet of land will satisfy anyone. Training from government or paid training is something you should seek. Travel is you have to, to learn new methods and processes. Delhi, Himachal anywhere you have opportunity to learn, you must travel to there. If you invest without knowledge you will suffer losses and if you have training you will succeed. 

Message to fellow farmers

Pardeep said mushroom farming is a lucrative business. The farmers who are involved with paddy, wheat or with horticulture, they can start part time work with mushrooms and it will earn them good part time income. He said those farmers involved with dairy farming get cowdung as a by-product which is popular as manure. Those into wheat farming, get the straw as by-product. These little investments lead to big savings and this part time income will benefit you greatly. 

Difficulties and solutions

Divya asked him if he still faces difficulties and if there are any difficulties he anticipates he will meet in the future. He said initially you need to invest a lot but in the next business cycles you don't need to invest much. How much you can invest initially decides how much you will succeed. Initially you have no idea about the markets or about the requirements. For him, he can get 70 percent of what he wants locally, for the other 30 percent has to travel to far away cities to purchase. This looks like an extra investment, the transportation charges are added to your bills. You may get faulty materials as you are not experienced about what the condition the materials should be in. The problem he still remembers is that he was not sure about the width and height of the shelter. The ventilation and temperature inside were other concerns which he did not have knowledge about. That is where Vidya Sagar Ji came in, he helped him in organizing his setup and he learnt a number of new things about the business. You must have some training and without practical experiences you will never learn or benefit. The more you experiment the more you will learn. With practical you will learn the maths of the whole thing. Please click here to see the video.

Pardeep Kumar

Pardeep Kumar

Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Button Mashroom

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