The pseudo stem, petiole and midrib of banana, which are usually abandoned to rot have helped the farmers in the district to script a success story in mushroom cultivation. The method is less expensive owing to the easy availability of residue and offers double the yield compared to the use of straw for mushroom production.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Peruvannamoozhi, following the success of their first training in the use of banana crop residue, has started training more persons on the techniques. During the training programmes conducted the last two months the KVK stressed the use of banana crop residue along with the use of straw.
“Following the success of Satheesh Kumar, agri-entrepreneur from Kakkur panchayat we are stressing the use of banana crop residue for preparing mushroom beds,” said Dr P Ratha Krishnan, programme coordinator of KVK. Mushroom cultivation assures household-level nutritional security and gives decent earnings with not much space and time. In order to boost this seasonal activity combined with the present banana harvesting season, KVK Peruvannamoozhi has trained over 500 people in the past couple of months, he added.
Satheesh Kumar, who formerly was a photographer, is now a successful mushroom farmer as he ventured to depend on banana crop residue for preparing beds for mushroom cultivation. The man, who sells edible mushroom in the local market on a regular basis, prepares over 600 beds of mushroom simultaneously using pseudo stems and leaves of banana. The dried stems and leaves are collected from neighbouring localities for the purpose.
“Banana stems and leaves are easily available in rural areas and this makes the preparation of mushroom beds less expensive,” said Satheesh Kumar. Moreover, the yield is almost double when we use banana crop residue for preparing mushroom beds compared to the yield when straw is used for preparing beds, he said.
According to the farmer, who has been in mushroom production for one-and-a-half years, a bed prepared using 1 kilogram banana crop residue gives a yield of 1 to 1.5 kg or mushroom. The average yield when using straw, according to him, is 650 gram.
Women and youth from Thamarasserry, Balusserry, Perambra, Vadakara, Naduvannur, Chempanoda, Peruvannamuzhi, Meppayur, Muthukadu, Panthirikkara, Poozhithode, Chakkittapara areas of Kozhikode district are given training by KVK.
“We are also imparting classes on the use of areca husk as a medium for preparing mushroom,” said Dr Ratha Krishnan. Use of such easily available and less expensive material as alternatives is expected to improve mushroom production.