Gujarat tribes leave room for fungi

VADODARA: Mushrooms can be considered gourmet, but in the central tribal belt, this is becoming a staple in many kitchens.

Thanks to the efforts of a city activist who introduced mushrooms to tribal villages in around 100 villages on an experimental basis, some farmers have not only become accustomed to the new fungiculture, but are also consuming the exotic product.

Considering malnutrition, the biggest problem in the tribal areas of the state, activist Anil Satapathy trained these rustic growers on how to grow mushrooms, as well as teaching them how to cook and eat them too. Nutritious food is being cooked as organized community events to encourage greater acceptance and consumption.

Satapathy, who heads the Rural Institute for Stimulation of Tribal Areas (RISTA), said that mushrooms are rich in nutrition and can be easily grown in media such as rice straw, grass, cotton crop debris and other materials. If you grow different varieties of mushrooms, you can grow them throughout the year, he explained.

The Savli Technology and Business Incubator of the Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission has provided the activist space where it prepares the spawns for rice straw, oysters and milky mushrooms and provides them to the villagers.

The activist said that so far he has demonstrated the technique to villagers, school-age children and even employees of the forestry department of about 100 villages in the districts of Dahod, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Narmada and Vadodara.