Income: Three years ago, when 64-year-old Tendrel took up Oyster mushroom farming in Pemathang, Samdrupjongkar, few in the village showed interest in growing the mushroom.

Tendrel was the lone man who volunteered to take up the cultivation when gewog agriculture extension supervisor distributed the seedlings.

Tendrel said that he had attended training in Zhemgang before he decided to grow the mushroom. He did not want to let the skills he had acquired go waste.

“Mushroom cultivation has helped me so much. I have been able to construct a new house for my family,” Tendrel said. “Demands keep increasing; customers come to my doorstep to buy the mushroom.”

Tendrel sells the mushroom at Nu 150 per kg. He harvests about 40,000kg mushrooms in a year.

The seedlings “mycelium” was distributed from the mushroom centre in Khangma, Trashigang and, when demand increased, Tendrel started buying seedlings from Siliguri in India to meet the demand.

With the rise in demand, Tendrel grows the mushroom both in summer and winter. “With mushroom, return is quick.”

Tendrel teaches his children how to grow the mushroom. Mycelium is boiled, wrapped in a plastic bag and kept for 15 days. The bags are watered everyday. The mushrooms grow in 25 days.

“When I started, I tried convincing other villagers and floated the idea of forming a cooperative but nobody was interested because it involves lot of work. Some villagers tried but they couldn’t manage,” said Tendrel.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupcholing