Jammu- Jammu and Kashmir’s agriculture department will launch commercial farming of one of the costliest mushrooms Shiitake in September after successful field trials of the cultivation of this Japanese-origin variety.

Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes), which is native to Japan, is a type of edible fungus and contains a chemical called lentinan, which some medical professionals use to boost the immune system.

Shiitake mushroom is a Japanese mushroom. It is a medicinal mushroom. We have completed field trials successfully. In September, we will take it to farmers (in J&K) for commercial farming in J&K.

”As the trials and standardisation of all the parameters were successful, the cultivation technique of Shiitake mushroom will be transferred to the farmer level in September. This initiative will provide farmers with an opportunity for round-the-year cultivation of mushrooms with enhanced returns,” KK Sharma, Director of the Department of Agriculture, told PTI.

The director said the field trials were conducted using Japanese technology at multiple locations on blocks.

”The blocks, in which mushroom was grown up in various conditions, were provided by the Mushroom institute Palampur in Himachal Pradesh,” Sharma said.

All trials also turned out to be a success with the growth of fruiting bodies first and full growing up of mushrooms, he added.

According to the officials, it will be considered as a move to bring an economic boom in the farming sector with regard to mushroom cultivation.

”The fresh mushroom sells for Rs 1,500 per kilo in the market. If we dry it, it is sold at Rs 15,000 per kilo in the market,” Sharma said.

He further said that with the introduction of the Shiitake mushroom, over 2,500 mushroom farmers will benefit directly from its cultivation. ”Their farming will be diversified, as apart from growing three mushroom varieties – Button, Dingri and Milky mushrooms. The fourth, Shiitake mushroom will be introduced. It will diversify cropping as well as the farming system. It will benefit economically to all even to small mushroom growers,” he said.

Terming it a big immunity booster, he also said that it has anti-carcinogenic properties, used in the treatment of cancer.

According to the official, it can be dried up in the post-harvest period and can not face wastage like other mushrooms. ”It is a high value and low volume product.” In a bid to give a fillip to this variety in the mushroom sector in J&K, Sharma said that for this cultivation, farmers will be given training and scientific knowledge.

”They will be provided with blocks by the department. The block life span is six months which will have three fruiting seasons in six months,” he said.

The officials connected with trials said they used wood chips and sawdust, which resulted in fruiting bodies in our conditions.

The department carried out two field trials in the climatic conditions of Jammu, and these trials were successful.

The director said that successful trials of spawn production and cultivation of Shiitake mushrooms were carried out in the spawn production laboratory in Jammu.

The cultivation trial was carried out on sawdust of broad leaves in polypropylene bags as per the guidelines of the Directorate of Mushroom Research (ICAR), Solan, he said.  (PTI)


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