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MAR&ES, SKUAST Kargil and JU jointly organize Capacity building Program

JAMMU: One day Capacity Building Workshop for the young women entrepreneurs and student trainees on the cultivation and value additions of edible mushrooms and their market potential was jointly organized by the MAR&ES, SKUAST, Kargil and the Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu at the Mountain Agriculture Research & Extension Station, SKUAST, Kargil, UT of Ladakh under the aegis of the National Mission on Himalayan Studies project "Database Development on Diversity and indigenous knowledge on mushrooms towards their cultivation and conservation in Trans Himalayan District of Kargil"

On the occasion, Dr. Faizan Ahmad Senior Scientist, MAR&ES Kargil, SKUAST- Kashmir and the local implementing partner of the project, informed that the outcome of the earlier workshops conducted has been outstanding as many women entrepreneurs have successfully adopted mushroom cultivation at the remote locations of the Kargil.

''The training on mushroom cultivation imparted to the young entrepreneurs have shown very promising results and many local women have set up their cultivation units and are selling their harvest directly to the local consumers including the hospitality sector as well", he said in the presence of women entrepreneurs and the project team.

He, however, opined that there is now an ardent need for value addition interventions as mushrooms on account of their high perishability and short shelf-life cannot be stored for longer. Besides, the organized marketing of the mushrooms and their products also need immediate attention of the authorities to help entrepreneurs reap more financial benefits.

Dr. Nasreen F. Kacho, Scientist, Plant Pathology of KVK, Kargil and the local implementing partner shared the success stories of the several women entrepreneurs.

Padma of Wakha-Mulbekh and Husaniya of Kargil have taken the cultivation of Pleurotus (Dhingri) mushroom to the commercial scale. Interestingly, both of them have used locally available agro-wastes for growing these mushrooms purely in an organic way.

Addressing the gathering of participating research students and entrepreneurs, Prof. Yash Pal Sharma, from the Department of Botany, University of Jammu and the Principal Investigator of the project, divulged upon the importance of mushroom cultivation, their nutritional significance and medicinal value.

"Mushrooms are the future foods and contribute effectively in bringing a non-green revolution". informed. Prof Sharma. He suggested that local Self-Help Groups can be a very viable option to regulate the market chain of mushrooms and their products after obtaining Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (fssai) certification. He, on behalf of the NMHS, expressed his satisfaction on the implementation of the capacity building program and thanked both the implementing partners as well as women entrepreneurs of Kargil for their overwhelming support in realizing the objectives of the NMHS.

"Realizing the significance and relevance of the proposed studies, NMHS has extended the support to undertake the research in this direction in the under-explored locations of the Trans-Himalayan region of Kargil" informed Prof Sharma.

Several local wild edible mushrooms once domesticated can be grown throughout the season under controlled atmospheric conditions.

During the workshop, Syed Azhar Hashmi, outlined the present schemes with government support for entrepreneurial ventures.

A visit to the mushroom units set up by the Padma at Wakha-Mulbekh was also organized on the occasion, on behalf of the NMHS digital merit certificates were presented to the women entrepreneurs.

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