Closure of Crucial Govt Project: Over 1,000 mushroom farmers in Jashore quit farming

A view of a mushroom farm in Jashore. Photo: Collected

Over 1,000 mushroom growers in Jashore have left farming after a government project facilitating mushroom farming was shut down, leaving many of them workless.

The farmers are leaving the highly nutritious mushroom cultivation and moving to other professions due to financial loss.

It could be learned that mushroom cultivation was introduced in the district in 2001.

It was later expanded in the region through a project titled "Strengthening Mushroom Development'' which was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2009. Since then, more than 1,500 men and women joined mushroom cultivation. They earned a hefty amount by cultivating mushrooms in their houses under the patronage and guideline from the project. However, the project was abruptly shut down in June 2014. After the closure of the project, most of the farmers have been backing out from mushroom cultivation.

According to Jashore Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Jashore was once famous for mushroom cultivation. Educated but unemployed people from different areas of the district including Chanchra and Muroli areas became involved in the promising sector.

Touhidur Rahman, a mushroom grower, once got great success by cultivating mushrooms in Chanchra Dal Mill area. His mushroom farm thrived with the help and support from the project but after the project was shut he had to switch his profession. 

Now he makes a living by running a small business in Jhenidah. He said it is very difficult to cultivate mushrooms without government patronage.

"We have been waiting for six to seven years for the project to start again. But so far, there is no update regarding the resumption of the project," he said.

Ayub Ali, a mushroom farmer in the Murli area of the Jashore town, said although some entrepreneurs continue to stick to the cultivation after the closure of the project, they are also being forced to quit farming due to the current seed crisis.

Earlier, mushroom entrepreneurs were given regular training from Jashore Horticulture Centre.

However, the training has also remained suspended since the project closed, Ayub said, adding that mushroom seeds were officially distributed among the entrepreneurs.

"As we do not have seeds at present, we cannot cultivate mushrooms even if we want," he further said.

Rita Roy of Birampur area in Jashore changed her fate through mushroom cultivation since her school days. Following her footprint, a mushroom village was formed in that area. At present, there is no mushroom cultivation in the area.

Rita Roy said that just even two years ago, mushroom cultivation was popular in Jashore.

Hundreds of unemployed people were involved in this profession. She used to earn Tk 5,000 to Tk 10,000 per month but now most of the mushroom farms have become ceased to exist.

According to the DAE, to meet the need of the people of the region, a mushroom laboratory was established at the Horticulture Center where seven thousand packets of seeds were produced every month. The seeds were distributed among the trained entrepreneurs. The laboratory is also now closed due to the closure of the project.

Bhibhas Chandra Saha, deputy director of the Horticulture Centre, said, that initiatives have been taken to revive the project.

A specific proposal has been prepared in this regard at the initiative of the Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension.

Dipankar Das, training officer of Jashore DAE, said, "We expect to resume the project within the next four to five months."


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