Abdul Qayyum Afridi

Mushroom farming has now become a major source of income for the local people in Tehsil Bara and Jamrud after Tirah valley of Khyber district.

Shakirullah, a resident of the Shah Kas area of Jamrud, has also started mushroom farming inside his house.

Shakrullah told TNN that four years ago he bought mushrooms from a vegetable shop in Karkhano Market, and right there he decided to start growing mushrooms himself.

Shakirullah further said that for mushroom farming, he contacted the Jamrud Agricultural Office from where he got information about the method of cultivation and obtaining seeds.

Shakrullah said that mushroom cultivation is usually done in March and October, but he cultivates it year-round, he has prepared underground rooms where 16 to 19-degree centigrade temperature required for mushrooms is maintained through lights/electric bulbs.

Also Read: Domestic Mushroom Farming on the rise across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

He said that there are more than 1,000 types of mushrooms, and some are poisonous as well, but the production of oyster and button mushrooms in Khyber district is good, from which he is getting a profit of four to five hundred thousand rupees annually.

Like other farmers, Shakirullah also boils straw in water for mushroom cultivation and adds mushroom spawns or seeds which are in the form of powder.

After that, he put the straw in plastic bags and hang them in the room with a rope, also making holes in the plastic bag so that the mushroom plant can come out through them.

He said that regular boxes are prepared for white button mushrooms, in which beds are prepared in these boxes with boiled straw and the seeds are placed in them. Mushrooms then begin to grow on both the plastic and the beds.

Shakirullah said that the mushroom harvest is ready in thirty to forty days, after which they cut, pack and sell them in the market.

The demand for mushrooms is so high that buyers book with growers in advance.

Regarding the prices, Shakirullah says that oyster mushrooms are sold at different hotels in Peshawar for Rs. 300 to 350 whereas white and golden button mushrooms may cost Rs1200 to 1800 in the market.

Shakir Allah not only does mushroom farming himself but is also active in attracting other people of the area. He has informed many people in the area about this profitable business.

He says there is a big market for mushroom farming. If one has an empty room or two in the house, he can grow mushrooms in them too.

Shakirullah said that he has been encouraged by the Department of Agriculture and whenever he faces any problem in this regard, he contacts them.

Shakirullah said he also sells mushrooms online. For this purpose, he has his own page on social media, where he posts the types and prices of available mushrooms.

Shakirullah said that mushroom cultivation is the best source of income for women at home.

Shakirullah’s dream is to expand mushroom farming in the Khyber district so much that people start cultivating it in every house so that the economic condition of the people can be improved by reducing unemployment in the area.

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