Chhimi Dema 

Farmers of Kikhar in Ngangkor gewog are exploring cultivating Oyster mushrooms after a poor Shitake mushroom harvest last year.    

The farmers are hoping that Oyster mushrooms would help them earn more.

Leki Zangmo, 36, from Kikhar, said that none of the farmers could produce enough Shitake to sell at the market.

She said that growing Shitake mushroom is a lot more difficult and laborious than growing Oyster mushrooms.

Farmers in the village lost most of the mushrooms to pests.

Leki Zangmo said that if the trial goes well she would grow Oyster mushrooms on a commercial scale.

In 2021, the country produced 112.25 metric tonnes (MT) of Oyster mushrooms. Zhemgang produced 3.71MT of Oyster mushrooms and 3.06MT of Shitake mushrooms.

In 2020, 3.78MT of Oyster mushroom was produced in Zhemgang and 1.20MT of Shitake mushroom.

Deputy chief extension officer, LB Biswa said that the office could not ascertain why Shitake production in the village failed.

Despite the poor harvest, he said, the office is training farmers to grow other mushrooms. “I am certain that Oyster mushrooms would grow well and help farmers earn more.”

A total of 18 individuals in the village trained to grow Oyster mushrooms last month.

LB Biswa said that the training was a trial to see if there is a potential to grow Oyster mushrooms as a cash crop to help farmers’ livelihood.

Jigme Dorji, a farmer, said, that he is hopeful the production would be better than Shitake. “I am looking forward to better production of Oyster mushrooms.”