Mushroom cultivation in Manipur in recent times has become a major source of income and has provided ample employment opportunities to the youths.
The favourable climatic conditions have provided ample opportunities for the youth to take mushroom farming as a business for better sustainability.
Many young entrepreneurs of the state have developed innovative mechanisms to grow mushrooms which have become a sustainable source of revenue.
A 42-year-old mushroom farmer, Punil Angom has also invented a local mushroom bagging machine in Manipur to make the process easier and efficient.
Angom, who has been into the mushroom business since 2012, is a perfect example of an individual who has achieved tremendous success in mushroom cultivation.
Angom who hails from Porompat Thawan Thaba Leikai, invented a local Mushroom bagging machine, local Ultra Sonic Humidifier machine, and a Humidifier machine in the year 2012. The ultrasonic humidifier is believed to be the best humidifier type for growing mushrooms.
The machine is capable of finishing the work automatically including compost loading, cultivation bag making, compost filling, compost pressing, and cultivation bag sealing.
Talking about his invention, a progressive farmer and young entrepreneur Angom, said, "Mushroom farming needs a good methodology and technology. Without knowing about it we cannot do any farming. My best suggestion for farmers is that they need to be highly educated as education is very important for the modernisation of farming. That is why I have got all the training from the centre, university and from the department of the horticulture in Manipur."
Sharing mechanism of his machines, he added, "These humidifiers work using the spinning disc that vaporizes water droplets- which are then pumped out of the unit and into the room. The benefit of piping in the humidity is that it brings in the fresh air, which is important in reducing CO2 levels and developing proper looking fruits."
Angom opened a unit of Pureiromba Farm 'Leima Mushroom' (Pleurotus mushroom) at Porompat Thawanthaba Leikai and a branch at Malom Hawairou village.
Every day he produces around 20-30 kilograms of mushroom and mainly cultivates Pleurotus mushroom and Oyster mushroom.
The cultivation initially began in 2002 after getting training from ICAR for NEH region and he started selling mushrooms at Rs. 20 per kilogram. Punil now sells mushroom at the cost of Rs.150 per kilogram in the market and Rs. 120 per kg for wholesale in packets.
One of the staff Binasakhi said, "Working here is a good opportunity for me as working hour is less enabling me to go back early and do household chores also. At present, there are three employees here. Earlier we had six employees but due to the installation of the machine, handwork has lessened."
These mushrooms are grown on compost and produced at specialised companies. The compost is required to be filled into bags which were previously done manually. However, with the use of an automatic bagging machine, it has increased the production efficiency and reduced the manual cost.
Another staff Sumola said, "When people buy our products and they recognise us for what we do, it gives me happiness. Our main job here includes cutting the straws, removing the waste, packaging the mushrooms, planting and so on."
Apart from creating job opportunities, Angom gives training to youths from different districts of Imphal East, Imphal West and Chandel about mushroom cultivation and he sought to bring food security at first and continue focusing on health.
The success story of an entrepreneur like Angom will go a long way in encouraging the youths of the state to take up farming as a profitable business using a modernised technique which will give a major boost to the agriculture sector of the state and the region as a whole. (ANI)