What is mushroom?
Mushrooms are large reproductive structures of edible fungi belonging to either Ascomycotina or Basidiomycotina (Chadha & Sharma, 1995). There are 10,000 different types of mushroom of which 2000 are edible. It is a wonderful gift of nature to the poor for its nutritional and economic security to the human being. It has got a place in all religious books. According to Greek or Roman myth “Mushroom sprang from a stoke of lighting”. Hindu believed it is a sexual product of lighting and the earth. Some also considered it is a flower of Ishwar (Jha & Dayaram, 2004). Mushroom is a dish of Jannat for Islamic people (Sura Al Bakara, Ayat, 57-80).
Why mushroom in Bangladesh?
There are many advantages in mushroom cultivation in Bangladesh that can not be found in farming of other crops. They are as follows:
* Mushroom, the only indoor vegetable not requiring any cultivable land and sunlight
* Scope of vertical cultivation/expansion, highest yield per unit area utilizing small investment, least labour and time
* All types of people can engage in mushroom cultivation ie tremendous employment opportunities especially for women
* There is no need of any insecticide, pesticide or chemical fertilizer for mushroom cultivation
* Easy, low cost and farmers friendly technologies developed in our country
* Seed production equipment’s are available in Bangladesh
* Seeds and raw materials are cheap as well as available in Bangladesh
* Mushroom cultivation is free from risks of natural disasters
* Electricity is not needed for mushroom cultivation
* Mushroom is eco-friendly and organic product
* It has Multi-industrial avenue and huge export opportunities
* Creating scope of internal and external market of mushroom by developing mushroom industries.
* Mushroom, an Alternative Medical Care (AMC) and nutraceutical
Importance of mushroom
The present nutritional status of Bangladesh is a matter of great concern. Most of our people have been suffering from malnutrition. Mushrooms can substantiate the sufferings from malnutrition to some extent, because they produce large quantities in a short time and provide more protein per unit area than other crops (Gupta, 1986). Mushroom is the source of extra ordinary power and virility and is used in the preparation of many essential dishes. They are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals (Khan, et.al., 1981). Mushroom is a high value crop for domestic and export market. It can be value added by its versatile using like food, medicine and cosmetic purpose. It is only indoor vegetable which creates diversification of food production. There is a great scope to use of mushroom as alternative food
Mushroom is being widely used as food and food supplements from ancient times. They are increasingly being recognized as one of the important food items for their significant roles in human health, nutrition and diseases (Chang, 1996). There is a common saying that “Medicines and foods have a common origin” (Kaul, 2001). Mushroom is recognized as the alternative source of good quality protein and is capable of producing the highest quantity of protein per unit area and time from the worthless agro wastes (Chadha and Sharma, 1995). They are good source of high quality proteins and are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Mushroom contains 20-35% protein (dry wt. basis) which is higher than vegetables and fruits and is of superior quality. It is rich in lysine and tryptophan, the two essential amino acids that are in deficient in cereals. It is also called white vegetables or “boneless vegetarian meat”. They are low caloric food with very little fat (4-6%) and sugars and without starch & cholesterol. The carbohydrate is only 4.5-5% and that too is not in the form of starch rather than in the form of glycogen, chitin and hemicelluloses. Free of starch and with very low sugar content mushrooms can be called the “delight of diabetic”. So, mushroom is an alternative rich source of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits etc.
Prospects of mushroom
There is a huge prospect of mushroom cultivation in Bangladesh. It can play an important role in eradicating malnutrition, one of the main problems of the people, and preventing diseases. By mushroom cultivation, it is possible to alleviate poverty and providing employment for educated unemployment, youths, adolescents and women. The amount of agricultural land is decreasing day by day. But the population is going up. So is the demand for food. As mushroom do not required land, fertilizer and pesticide for cultivation. So, one can started mushroom cultivation with a little amount of capital and labour. The poor and the landless people can easily cultivate mushroom and make them self sufficient. Besides, the industrialist can set up mushroom industry for large scale production. They can export mushroom and can earn a lot of foreign currency every year. Mushroom Development Institute (MDI) along with its sixteen (16) sub centre will follow up the mushroom farmers.
For extensive popularization of mushroom throughout the country, it is essential to broadcast mushroom and mushroom oriented programs in electronic media and print media, so that there is a provision of publicity and publication (Journal, manual, booklet, leaflet, folder, festoon etc.) as well as motivational program like mushroom fair, rally, cultural program, mushroom day and National day celebration in Mushroom Development Institute (MDI). At present 162 of different world popular mushrooms have already been collected by MDI. Most of them are suitable for cultivation in Bangladesh due to her appropriate climatic condition, availability of raw materials and abundant of labour. So, mushroom can be one of the important tools used as alternative food items.
Mushroom cultivation also requires low technology, low investment and can be grown in very little space. As it is not labour intensive, women can be employed in mushroom culture. Like booming dairy and poultry industries it is very much possible to transform mushroom into an industry. For that eliminating adverse prospective, mushroom will have to be made acceptable to the people. Due to culinary, nutritional and health benefits, the mushroom market is expected to grow as “a food, a tonic and a medicine”. Besides effective steps need to be taken for its marketing.
Now a day’s government taken initiatives and gave priority on mushroom development. Technologies were being disseminated to the cultivars, consumers and entrepreneurs through different training program, publicity in electronic and print media, publications and motivational program. Different research works are being conducted at MDI to create demand and awareness about different uses of mushroom. There is a great scope to use of mushroom as alternative food and increasing the use through strengthening MDI activities like research, training, motivation and awareness build up program on mushroom and mushroom based technologies and their decentralization by developing sub centre. At present production trend also increased. One might say that the different NGO’s and farms have literally cultivated mushrooms recently. It is hoped that the new hut industry of mushroom cultivation in Bangladesh will soon provide an important tool for income generation and the creation of food security for thousands of households. In this situation mushroom cultivation could be the potential offer of solution to poverty reduction. Many people in different location cultivate mushroom to consume and sell a portion.
Mst. Akhter Jahan Kakon, Ph.D, Deputy director (In Charge) Mushroom Development
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