Written by the Web Team
Rice straws, which are generally burned after harvesting, are now made profitable with farmers` wives using them as basic material for mushroom production.
Following a recent Specialized Training Course on Mushroom and Vermiculture Production conducted by PhilRice in Midsayap, women in Bual Norte and Bual Sur are encouraging more farmers` wives to join them in forming an organization that will engage in mushroom commercial enterprise.
“As farmer`s wife and president of a women`s group, this training is important because it will help us become mushroom producers in Midsayap,” said Evelyn S. Pieldad, 58 years old.
Jose Nobleza Jr, a farmer in Davao del Sur, said in CyberDyaryo that mushroom growing is “perfect in Mindanao as 2,000 edible mushroom varieties are found in the island.”
Nobleza also said that the country`s proximity to Asian countries with high mushroom consumption such as China, India, and Japan, makes mushroom farming a promising industry.
Review of the agricultural sector in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao conducted by the National Statistics Office shows that the potential of mushroom farming is now recognized by more farmers. In 1991, only 340 farms were engaged in mushroom culture. From that year, the Agricultural Training Institute published in its website that “ the demand of straw mushrooms in the urban and rural areas is growing because of people’s preference of eating food that is pesticide-free.”
In the seminar, about 20 women learned the basic including preparing the pure culture, grain spawn, and fruiting bags; and cooking Mushroom Tempura.
They were also taught on vermiculture production, which includes preparing the worms` beds, harvesting the worms, and refining the composts; and using biomass of rice and mushroom for compost.
An article in the eco-Philippines published that vermiculture is a lucrative business in Northern Mindanao because African Night Crawlers, earthworms usually used for vermicomposting, are priced as high as P500 a kilo. A kilo of the species, meanwhile, contains more than 1,000 earthworms that can decompose at least half a kilo of organic matters a day.