National Mission on Himalayan Studies organises workshop cum training on mushroom cultivation and livelihood options at GDC Drass

KARGIL: A day-long workshop cum training program on mushroom cultivation was organized by the Govt Degree College, Drass (Kargil) in the Union Territory of Ladakh in collaboration with the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Govt of India and the Department of Botany, University of Jammu

During the workshop, Prof. Yash Pal Sharma, Department of Botany, University of Jammu and the Principal Investigator of the NMHS project "Database Development on Diversity and indigenous knowledge on mushrooms towards their cultivation and conservation in Trans Himalayan District of Kargil", enlightened the participants on the life cycle patterns of mushrooms, mushroom diversity, their ecological role, and economic importance.

"The edible mushroom species we consume today were once growing only in the wild and later domesticated by the humans as an alternative vegetable food for fulfilling our nutritional needs" informed Prof Sharma.

He quoted examples of domestication and commercial cultivation of prime edible mushrooms including many species of Agaricus and Pleurotus, Calocybe indica, Flammulina velutipes, etc. Elaborating further, Prof Sharma said that due to increasing population and shrinking land resources due to rapid urbanization, society is facing the diverse challenges of food security, deteriorating quality of health, unemployment, and increasing environmental deterioration.

To address these challenges, mushroom diversification and cultivation technology is a practical option; hence, the field explorations for foraging wild edible mushrooms and cultivating locally available mushrooms are immensely significant.

Giving details of the mushroom diversity and its forms with respect to the Northwestern Himalayan regions of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh, the learned mycologist said that edible mushrooms are nature's best non-green veggies and health food constituting all-in-one package of nutritional, medicinal, and economic attributes.

He congratulated Dr. Amjad Ali Abbasi, Principal GDC, Drass, and the local implementing partner of the NMHS project, for introducing the Skill Development Course on Mushroom Cultivation for undergraduate students under NEP 2020 this year.

Prof Sharma also assured all possible guidance and support to impart practical skills to run the course effectively.

Dr. Tahir Mehmood, the Project Fellow, NMHS project presented detailed protocols of mushroom cultivation to the workshop participants. In the afternoon session, a field expedition was organized to understand the habitat and ecology of wild mushrooms.

Earlier, Dr. Amjad Ali Abbasi, Principal GDC Drass extended a warm welcome to the NMHS team with traditional ‘Khatak'. More than 60 participants including students and faculty members of the college attended the day-long training workshop.

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