FTB Stories

How This Farmer Grows and Sells Superfood Mushroom for New Markets of Rajasthan

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Jitendra at his traditional farm

Jitendra Singh Khankhla from Jodhpur, Rajasthan have been farming mushroom for nearly three years, since 2016-2017. His main business before becoming a mushroom grower was traditional farming growing veggies and fruits. He recently uploaded his video about his brand BR agro  on FTB.  

He started farming mushrooms because there are not many mushrooms growers in Rajasthan and thus he predicted he would be able to sell his mushrooms easily and at good price. There is almost nil production of mushrooms in western Rajasthan. That's why he planned and started farming mushrooms. 

Jitendra says it was difficult to start farming in the beginning due to his lack of knowledge. He even struggled to get mushroom spawns for his farm because spawns were not easily available locally. He brought his spawns from Udaipur. He started with 50 bags to start his farm. But his experiment failed, he waited and waited but  no mushrooms grew, still he did not lose heart and decided to keep trying. 

mushrooms growing in bags

He tried again with 60 bags out of which almost half of the bags grew mushrooms successfully. At the moment I am able to grow mushrooms out of all of my bags, Jitendra says. He first produced oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) which grow well in winter season from October to March.  For farming mushrooms in other seasons and months he looked through different varieties of mushrooms and selected milky mushrooms (Calocybe indica), which is an Indian variety of mushrooms.

Milky mushrooms grow in the summer season and need temperature of 30 to 35 degree centigrade to grow. Because of hot climate of Rajasthan they started to grow milky mushrooms. The looks and smell of the Milky mushrooms are very good. As the name suggests its milky white in colour. It does not rot easily and hence can be stored easily.  

Fully grown milky mushrooms ready for the market

We learnt and successfully grew mushrooms, but were dependent on Udaipur to get spawns. So, they have started their own spawn lab for which they have received training from DMR (DIRECTORATE OF MUSHROOM RESEARCH), Solan. He found the training very useful. They are now providing spawns to their local farmer friends and entrepreneurs starting their mushroom business. He mentions anyone interested in purchasing spawns can contact him and book spawns (Jitendra Singh - 8741085030). These varieties of spawns are grown through tissue culture, pure culture and give good output, with minimal contamination.  

Despite his estimates, he initially found very little market for his milky or oyster mushrooms as the existing market was dominated by button mushrooms(Agaricus bisporus). Most of the mushrooms available in Rajasthan are imported from other states. However these are available mostly in December to February period. But, the sellers in the market knew only about button variety of mushrooms and had little or no knowledge about, Milky mushrooms or Oyster mushrooms or other varieties. Some of the sellers did not consider selling varieties of mushrooms apart from button mushrooms as mushrooms. So, we had to educate these sellers that these other varieties of mushrooms are edible, good in taste and nutrient rich. Mushroom is a complete food in itself and are immunity boosters which can play important role in the current Corona pandemic. Mushrooms have more nutrients and minerals than other veggies.  

Slowly the local population is recognizing oyster mushrooms, milky mushrooms, king mushrooms as food that they can add to their palate. Recent research has indicated that eating mushrooms three times in a week improves blood circulation, builds muscles and boosts immunity. Mushrooms are providers of antibiotics protecting you from infections. He describes mushrooms as super food very beneficial for the body.  

Jitendra said this is his journey so far with mushrooms and he plans to continue with growing mushrooms with all his efforts and energies. Currently he is researching on varieties of mushrooms other than his current offerings of Milky mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms, which he aims to provide to the local population and markets.  

Jitendra Singh Khankhla

Jitendra Singh Khankhla

Jodhpur, Rajasthan

BR AGRO

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