In times of Covid 19 pandemic, rural economy is hurting the people who could not access to government sponsor schemes. Hope for rural women is almost nil.
It is impossible for them to go out of their village to work for a living.
Malemnganbi Mushroom Farm is the hope for these rural women in Manipur. This farm located at Keibi of Imphal East is providing hope and employment for farmers, with special focus on rural women to earn and learn mushroom farming.
The brainchild behind this Atma Nirbhar campaign is lead by 28 years old Haorongbam Malemnganbi Chanu. Her farm have facilitated more than 100 families. She provides free training, employment opportunities, and boost their entrepreneurship skills.
Today, rural women are able to sell their farm products in the market. Malemnganbi keep a milestone to spread this mission of mushroom farming as home based jobs for rural women in other districts of Manipur.
Rewards for providing hopes to rural women
Recently Malemnganbi Mushroom Farm was awarded Runners Up in the 7th eNabling Northeast Development Award for providing hope and employment for farmers, with special focus on rural women to earn and learn mushroom farming.
The citation further added that the award is for facilitating more than 100 families through Mushroom Farm and providing free training, employment opportunities, and boosting women entrepreneurship skills in Mushroom business.
And enabling selling farm products in the market towards larger objective of spreading mushroom farming as home based jobs for rural women in other districts of Manipur.
Malemnganbi Mushroom Farm was started six years ago and enable to construct Mushroom house to give training as well as cultivating different varieties of Mushroom, both available locally and imported.
In the beginning it was for 5-10 family members, Now, the farm have more than 100 beneficiary farmer families who are directly involve in the production and marketing of Mushroom in the cities and different towns of Manipur.
Help from an NGO in technical support
Not all mushroom grows well and make profits. Sometimes, farmers wasted all their hardwork when mushroom spawns are infected.
The Farm approach an NGO based in Imphal named Action for Social Advancement (ASA) Manipur which provides good quality spawns, technical supports, training and time to time field visits.
On trial basis, few farmers are selected and provide them in hand training under the guidance of Action for Social Advancement (ASA) Manipur. After learning the basic knowledge of mushroom cultivation for a month, Malemnganbi engages them in her farm as trainee cum full time staff.
Here, they work from growing and maintaining the farm and the profit from selling the final products are shared with them. Later, they are provided technical and material supports.
For example, providing good quality spawns and other chemicals and let them start cultivating mushroom under buy back policy.
This removes the tension of selling them in the market which is new to them.
Benefits to Farmers
On average, the farmers are earning Rs 10,000 to 20,000 per month as net profit. This livelihood is most suitable to the rural farmers where most of the raw materials are easily available in the village.
Those who are into other job sector like poultry too shift their livelihood into Mushroom Farming. Cost of production of 1000 kg mushroom in a month is much cheaper than producing 1000 kg broiler chicks in 45 days.
Value Addition of Mushroom
Mushrooms are highly perishable food products, if we are unable to sell in the market due to certain reasons like bandh, economic blockade and other factors, we have to throw them.
Lack of cold storage is one factor, Second option is the lack of value addition of mushroom. The Farm is focusing on value addition of mushroom like pickles, papad, biscuits and other edible by products of mushroom.
Profits from Mushroom Farming
For a small investment of Rs 5000, a farmer can earn Rs 7000-Rs 10,000 as profit within 40 days. Normally, Mushroom Spawn cost Rs 50 per 250 gram. The Farm is supplying good quality spawn at Rs 120 per Kg.
Mushroom are sold to wholesaler at Rs 120 – 130 per Kg . Besides this, dry mushroom are sold at Rs 900-1200 per Kg.
Hope for rural women from our Food Heroes
Malemnganbi Chanu is making big dreams. She wants to construct more Mushroom House and engage more rural women. Her idea is to grow mushroom and improve the socio- economic condition of rural women.
Besides, a movement for healthy Manipur is also included in her mission. Let us hope, Malemnganbi Mushroom Farm grows more mushroom and empower women in the region!