Mushroom Farming In Nepal

Mushroom farming in Nepal is increasing at rapid pace and has helped many youths to start their own business.

Nepal, Being an agricultural country its  majority of population(66%) is engaged in agriculture. Despite of  this much population involved in agriculture,the domestic production  does not meet the annual demand of the country and  import of food products becomes only way to meet the demand.

To reduce this import, people are now abandoning the subsistence agriculture and embracing the commercial way of farming.

One of the popular and mostly succeeded commercial farming in Nepal  is Mushroom farming.

Mushroom Farming In Nepal
Mushroom Cultivation In Nepal

In this blog, we are going to cover all the information on Mushroom Farming In Nepal- Importance, Prospects and Challenges.

    Mushroom Farming In Nepal

    Mushroom farming in Nepal has great diversity according to the climatic condition and the variety of mushroom used. So-First we should learn about Mushroom in detail.

     Mushroom is a saprophytic plant feeding on dead and decaying organic matter and are cosmopolitan in distribution.

    Majorities of mushroom are wild, yet there are some cultivated species.

    In case of Nepal, the mushroom farming begins from historic period. However, commercial cultivation of mushroom  begins in past 30 years only.

    Mushroom may be either poisonous or an edible. 70 −80 varieties including Death cap(Amanita phalloides), Web caps(Cortinarius sps), Autumn skullcap(Galerina marginata), Conocybe filaris, Podostroma comudamae, etc are deadly poisonous.

    However, there are some varieties that doesn’t have the poisonous effects on human beings. Agaricus campestris, Agaricus bisporous are some edible mushroom that have been to our kitchen centuries ago.

     Due to their nutritional ,economic and  medicinal values and high profitability within short period of time they become popular throughout the entire world.

    In Nepal, during past few years people of Brahmin ethnic group reject mushroom to their kitchen believing in the myth that mushrooms are impure since they grow in dead and decaying organic matter despite their nutritional value. As the people become literate and they become familiar to the importance of mushroom this myth no longer exist in society.       


    Mushroom Farming In Nepal

    Mushroom farming in Nepal is an emerging agricultural business in Nepal because of its profitability.

    Mushroom can be cultivated in Nepal throughout the year in natural environmental condition and hence year round production can be taken.

    High return can be fetched with low investment and there isn’t a marketing problem as the demand of mushroom in Nepalese market is increasing day by day . So, it became the attraction centre of small holder farmers and youths.

    Mushroom farming is one of the immense potential crop which put trigger youths generations towards its production. High value crops in terms of both food and medicine with low cost production technology attracts the youths as well as small holder farmers for its commercial cultivation with an aim to fetch high return within a short period of time. Agro-climatic and agro-ecological variation is a boon for mushroom farming in Nepal.

    Types Of Mushrooms Grown In Nepal

    Over several thousand species of mushroom are cultivated world widely. However, a few species are commercially cultivated in Nepal. Some of the varieties that are mostly used for mushroom farming in Nepal are described below :

    1.White Button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus)/Gobre chyau                              

    Botanically, white button mushroom is Agaricus bisporus belonging to basidiomycetes.

    It is the most cultivated variety  in the world also called as table mushroom. It is most commonly found in field and grassland having medium sized pileus(cap) ranging 2-7 cm in diameter with short white stem.

    Year round production can be  obtained however 20-28°c for vegetative growth and 12-18°c for reproductive growth is considered best. Usually, harvested when caop measuring about 2.5-4 cm diameter.

    2.Oyester Mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus)

    It is one of the most edible mushroom. It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measures but nowadays grown commercially around the world.

    Oyester mushroom  have broad fan like cap with very short or completely absent stem. The color vary from white to gray or tan to dark brown.

     Mostly, wild species are found widespread among temperate and sub-tropical forests. As the mycelium of oyster mushroom can kill and digest Nematodes. So, it is called as the carnivorous mushroom.

    The standard oyester  mushroom can grow in many places, however branched oyester mushroom grow only on trees.

    Some oyester mushroom includes:-

    ✓Pearl oyester (Pleurotus ostreatus)
    ✓Blue oyester (Pleurotus ostreatus var. columbinus)
    ✓Golden oyester (Pleurotus citrinopileatus)
    ✓Pink oyester (Pleurotussaimones stramineus)
    ✓Phoenix oyester (pleurotus pylomonarius)  ✓King oyester (Pleurotus eryngii)

    3.Paddy straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea)

    Paddy straw mushroom often called as the straw mushroom or the Chinese mushroom as the cultivation was begin from China .

     It requires tropical or sub-tropical climatic condition i.e. higher temperature favours its growth . So, also called as the warm mushrooms.

     It is fast growing mushroom and under favourable growing condition it can compiete its cycle within 4-5 weeeks time. A matured paddy straw mushroom has pileus or cap, stipe or stalk and volva or cup.

     Pileus is connected at the centre by stipe and is usually 6-12 cm in diameter. The fully grown pileus is circular in shape. The stipe connects pileus and volva; length depending upon size of pileus usually measuring 3-8 cm in length and 0.5-1.5 cm in diameter. At the base of the stipes remain volva.

    4.Shitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes)

    The outer covering of shitake mushroom is brown red in which small white spots are found which resembles to the deer.

    Shitake mushroom farming in Nepal is also growing at very rapid pace due to its different benefits.

    One piece of mushroom can weight 150-250 gm. This mushroom is cultivated in wooden logs. This mushroom is cultivated in mid and high hills of Nepal. 1 meter log of 5 year old is selected in which holes are made in 3-4 rows at interval of 5 cm and 15 cm between holes.

    Mushroom seed is placed in the hole. Mushroom can be harvested after 9-10 months and upto period of 3 years.

     5.Red mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) 

    Red mushroom is biologically cultivated fungus called Ganoderma. It is cultivated in Kathmandu, Lele, Kakani, Raniban, Nagarkot.

    In high humidity condition, it can be cultivated from Jestha to Bhadra. Red mushroom can be cultivated in wood ash, straw and wood like substrate. It looks like oyster mushroom but it is dark red in color.

    Usually in Nepal, it is found in wild form. Commercially it is cultivated in wooden log, but also can be cultivated in wooden dust or in straw. It can be cultivated in high hills of Nepal and need high relative humidity and moist place for cultivation. It has also come in preference in mushroom farming of Nepal.

    Importance Of Mushroom Farming In Nepal

    Nepal is a developing country. Agriculture sector has great contribution  to uplift the economy of country.

    Mushroom farming in Nepal has also helped Nepalese society in many ways

     As a growing sector in agriculture, mushroom cultivation has great  importance in various spheres of human life.

    These include   economic importance, nutritional importance, medicinal importance and ecological importance. They are described as below:

    1.Economic importance of Mushrooms

    Comparatively, growing of mushroom needs low investment but it fetches high return within a short duration of time.

     This low investment with quick return reduces the vulnerability to proverty and strengthens the livelihood of small holder farmers and acts as a reliable source of income.

    It may also play significant role as a reliable source of employment generation. In the context of Nepal where most of the farmer are unable  to cope high investment.

    Since, mushroom have medicinal values and hence they are the raw material for medicinal industry. So, by producing mushroom  we not only generate income but also contribute to human health by producing medicine indirectly.

    2.Medicinal importance of Mushrooms

    Mushroom are considered as the complete healthy foods for all age groups as they contain all types essential elements including Carbohydrate, Fibre, Protein, Fat, Vitamins and minerals in desired proportion. However, the concentration of various nutrient varies among species, varieties, stage of development and climatic condition i.e. environment .

    ✔️The presence of certain biochemical compounds including polysaccharides, tri-terpenoids, low molecular weight  proteins, glycoproteins and immonomodulating compounds are responsible for medicinal values of several varieties of mushroom.

    ✔️Mushroom are rich in proteins however they lack sulfur containing amino acids.

    ✔️It is beneficial for diabetic patients due to its low calorific value, no starch and little fat and sugar content.

    ✔️Low fat content with no cholesterol and presence of numerous unsaturated fatty acid makes it a relevant choice of heart patient

    ✔️Anti-tumour compounds are found in some mushrooms that restricts the tumour activity.
    A leading cancer drug kresin(polysaccharide-k) is also isolated from mushroom.

    ✔️ Ergesterol present in mushroom is the precursor of vitamin D synthesis in human body. Mushrooms are the excellent source of vitamin B and C.

    ✔️Minerals like potassium, Sodium and Phosphorous are found in high amount however copper, Zinc, Magnesium are found in traces only.

    ✔️Antioxidant property of mushroom prevents the aging process by reducing the activity of super oxide free radicals.


    Ecological Importance 

    Each and every organisms born on this universe has its own importance in the ecosystem.

    Producer, consumer and decomposer are essential component of eco-system . Among this three absence of any one creates imbalance in the eco-system .

    Mushrooms are fungi, they act as decomposers and play important role in decomposing the dead and decaying organic matters. Also, by participating in decomposition of different organic debris , they contribute to different nutrient cycle.

    Wild mushrooms act as the source of food for wild lives including insects. They also enrich the soil fertility and also act as pollution reductor.

    Prospect Of Mushroom Farming In Nepal

     Nepal is a country with vivid agro-climatic and agro-ecological zone. This diversity has made the Nepal hub for many agriculture products including mushroom farming. Due to this  varied agro-climatic situation, year-round production of mushroom has been  become possible.

    Low cost labor, plentiful supply of wide variety of cheap raw substrate, Spawns and other inputs has positively supported the mushroom cultivation in Nepal.

     Likewise, the availability of potential local markets,  primarily international hotels and great possibility to export to international markets are the supporting factors for promoting mushroom industry as a reliable source of income in Nepal.

     In this growing world, due to increased public awareness people become familiar with the negative consequences of unhealthy diet. This drag the public attention towards use mushroom i.e.  regarded as the complete healthy food consisting of all required elements in desired  proportion.

    This results in increased market demand which ultimately supports the growth of mushroom industry.

    Problems In Mushroom Farming In Nepal

     The whole agriculture sector is going through the difficult situation in our country since past many decades .

     The motto of agriculture commercialization and  modernization has been limited in government policies only. So, it is obvious  that the emerging sector of agriculture ;mushroom industries are also  facing some challenges that directly or indirectly hinders the development of mushroom industry in Nepal.

    Some of the major challenges that the mushroom farming industries face nowadays are as follows:

    ✔️Insufficient investment and inadequate scientific research.

    ✔️Unavailability of quality spawn throughout the country due to low production or urban oriented production.

    ✔️Lack of latest improved technology.

    ✔️Lack of properly trained specified technician.

    ✔️Poorly developed market chain.

    ✔️Lack of strict formulation and implementation of government policies regarding mushroom production.

    ✔️Lack of institutional support regarding mushroom cultivation.

    ✔️Lack of quality control centre, Spawn production and research centre throughout the country.

    ✔️Lack of collection and domestication of locally available varieties suitable for various agro-climatic condition.

    ✔️Lack of standardization and diversification products

    Solution To Problems

     Mushroom farming in Nepal is facing the tremendous challenges. So, the government has to take strong position to act as a parent for developing the mushroom industry. For this the government need to formulate and has to strictly implement the policies regarding mushroom production, its research and marketing.

    Beside this the production of quality spawn should be increased in order to meet the national demand. Not only is this but the adoption of advanced technologies and production of skilled technician also mandatory.

     Diversification of raw substrate and finding the best alternatives based on locally available raw substrate would be able to answer the increasing price of substrate.

     The establishment of mushroom culture center, spawn production centre, quality control centre as well as improving the growers knowledge and skill on farm sanitation and integrated disease pest management may provide a great support in developing the mushroom activities in Nepal.

    The government should announce the minimum support price to address the newly formulated plan, “protected agriculture, assured saving” in order to strengthen the possibility of running the mushroom enterprise.

     Also, popularizing the mushroom using information communication technology , mass media like television, radio etc as well as posters and organizing mushroom festival would add great support to increase mushroom demand and production in Nepal.

    Final Verdict

    Mushroom is itself a  complete food and people are becoming aware of its benefits. Thus, we can say, Mushroom farming in Nepal has got immense potential.

    To optimize our potential, the problems in mushroom cultivation should be addressed from both local and national level.

    This is whole information on Mushroom Farming In Nepal- Importance, Prospects and Challenges

    If you have any suggestions, do let us know in comments!!!

    Article by:-

    Mr.Govind Raj Joshi (Student)
    Agriculture And Forestry University

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