Small and marginal farmers in Pilibhit embrace corporate farming for mushroom cultivation

Pilibhit: For the first time in the district the marginal and small farmers have synergized in the form of a private limited company for the production of mushroom, beginning from October this year. This company has been formed under an ambitious project of the central government known as PODF (Producers' Organization Development and Upliftment Corpus Fund). The district of Pilibhit had been assigned the target of forming one company under this project. The inception of this project in Pilibhit is expected to bring about a preening change in the lifestyle of small and marginal farmers.

NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) has focused its priority to promote the production and marketing of Mushroom in district Pilibhit at the initial stage of the project. Giving a brief on the reason of opting Mushroom cultivation, the district development manager of NABARD, AK Rawat told TOI, "Mushroom cultivation does not require any typical or unaffordable infrastructure as well as the inputs. The wood logs, thatches and mud which are needed for the structuring of production houses for mushroom, are easily available with village people. The availability of straw and the cow-dung used for making the beds for mushroom cultivation is also in abundance in villages."

When asked on how farmers would be benefited in growing the particular crop, he said, "As mushroom does not require field cultivation and can be managed even by the village women, the farmers can double their crops as well as their functional energy."

According to sources, the farmers' company has been registered with the Registrar of Companies under the company registration act in the name of Leeward Golden Mushroom Producers Company Limited and this has five directors and five members. NABARD would provide interest free financial assistance to the company to the tune of 5.06 lac for a period of three years. Moreover, cultivators would also undergo training GP Pant Agriculture University in Pantnager (Uttarakhand), informed sources.

When asked about the benefits of forming the company, Rawat said, "Farmers will function under the expert supervision of NABARD and will be provided with the best training in the sphere of advanced techniques of mushroom cultivation. As the company will be free to also buy mushroom from the non-member farmers, they will also be attracted to increase the volume of their production as the non-member farmers will have definite and secured point of selling their crop in the form of this company. In due course of time, this chain will protect the farmers of Pilibhit from risk factors of marketing and this will pave the way for farmers to launch value addition projects for their crop."

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