Correspondent

KORAPUT: Button mushrooms from Hyderabad and Chennai still reign the market even in the mid rainy season in Koraput district. Bali Chatu, Nado Chatu and Boda Chatu, the mushroom verities gifted by the nature in Koraput district have become a rare commodity for the varying pattern of rainfall this year, says J.K. Nayak, horticulturist of Koraput. With the absence of drizzling rain drops, the usual phenomenon during this season, most of these mushroom spores could not get sufficient time to germinate in the soil while Bada Chatu, which grows in the wet grass field could only be seen in the market.

Efforts to promote mushroom growing commercially in the district has received a serious jolt from time to time. With Dhingri mushroom surviving in the cool and moist temperature condition, many tribal farmers of the region had expressed their interest in it and hence were supported by the government and other agencies in the past. But, due to non-availability of spawn for this variety of mushroom in the district, these farmers had to depend on the farms at Bhubaneswar.

Contrary to the climatic condition of Koraput, the situation in the capital is different. The farms there grow paddy straw mushroom in the hot and humid climate and only when huge orders are placed with them, spawns for Dhingri variety are prepared .Orders have not been sufficient enough for a large scale production and there is no policy with the government to support the marginal cultivators to make a life with it . While the hopes among people to grow mushroom commercially in Koraput have largely died, paddy straw mushroom failed to reach the district from the capital for its short lifespan.

Button mushrooms can stay fresh for long and could bring more profit. But growing button mushroom required high precision and is out of the capacity of common farmers without a large-scale intervention by the government, says Mr. Nayak.