Mujahid Ali*, Dr. CM Ayyub**, Dr. M. Muzammil Jahangir**
(*Horticulture, UOS; **Horticulture, UAF)
Mushroom is a fleshy fruiting body of fungus; normally it is produced above the surface of the soil naturally in the rainy season. When it is propagated, it forms mycelium (root-like structures). It does not photosynthesize because of lack of chlorophyll in it. Mushroom has no leaves, no stem, no roots, no stem while it is still a vegetable. White button mushroom is cultivated which is called agarics. Mushrooms are the macroscopic fungi. In ancient Egyptians, mushrooms are called to be “Plants of Immortality”. The people of China, Russia, Mexico, and Greece use mushrooms for the strength of their health. The word mushroom is derived from the French word which is known as fungi and molds. In 1650, melon grower discovered mushroom near Paris for growth fertilizer. This man gave the name of mushroom called “Passion mushroom”. After sometimes, Chambray discovered the cave where which it is cultivating the mushrooms. After that China cultivate the mushrooms in the cave in a very large-scale quantity. In the 19th century, Netherland has 3rd largest market for production of mushroom and giving more than 10,000 jobs regarding mushroom culture. Mushroom develops from the nodule, which is less than 2mm diameter called “primordium”. Primordium found near the surface of the substrate. The nutritional value mushroom-like water contains 92%, carbohydrates 4%, pectin 2% and fats less than 1%. Mushrooms are the reliable source of Vitamin B having riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Mushroom has an almost double amount of protein than meat. Mushrooms are a reliable source of protein, vitamin, and minerals. Mushrooms are decomposing into agricultural waste and organic waste and these wastes are utilizing them into high nutritive value. Mushrooms play very important role in economic value as well. Mushroom is a vegetable under horticultural crops. Mushroom cultivation requires temperature almost range from 38-40°C. Mushroom require light, darkness will be the best choice to grow well mushroom. Mushrooms are either acidic or neutral having pH of 5-8. Early growth of mushroom requires oxygen but if we give too much oxygen then mushroom grows abnormally. Mushrooms have 30,000 varieties around the world. Mushrooms are 99% edible only 1% are poisonous. Europe like field mushrooms while China and Japan like Shitake mushroom. The people of Thai like straw mushrooms. Mushrooms use in many products like mushroom ketchup, soup mix, risotto mix, porcini dust, umami powder and wild garlic vinegar. In Europe, mushrooms are used well in pastes and creams. In Asia, people use mushroom in snacks, beverages, and cakes. Mushrooms jelly and cakes are popular in China. Korea and Japan use the mushroom for wine purpose. Mushrooms contain many fatty acids and having contained several vitamins B. People’s Republic of China is the top mushroom producer with 5,008,850 tons production annually, followed by Italy, United States, Netherland, Poland, Spain, France, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. The annual production of mushroom contains 5-7 million tons in all over the world. White button mushroom contributes 37.7%, and straw mushroom contains 16.8%. European countries contribute mushrooms 55-65%, North America contribute mushroom 27-37%, while rest of counties including Pakistan contributes 15%. Pakistan is far behind its production. Here is a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of mushroom cultivation in Pakistan.
Strength; A mushroom farming business can be mean large profits in just a few weeks. Plus, starting your own business growing oyster mushrooms for profit is easy. Pakistan is blessed with every kind of season. Climatic conditions congenial for mushroom production. Our homeland has abundant raw material (wheat straw, rice straw, cotton straw, rice straw etc.), technical pace, cheap manpower. Coupled with government support. Strategic location. It takes approximately fifteen weeks to complete entire production cycle. Growing mushrooms is easy and does not require any big financial commitment or involve cumbersome technology. It can be taken as a hobby, or kitchen garden, and fulfills domestic requirements. Mushroom cultivation is an income- generating activity. This, on the one hand, will develop self-reliance among the rural women. The grower can sell directly to the consumers either at the farm gate or at local markets. Mushroom cultivation is attractive for the resource-poor for two reasons. Firstly, because mushroom cultivation can be done on any scale, the initial financial outlay to establish a basic cultivation system need not be very great, and substrate materials are often free. Organic waste, such as spent mycelium blocks, is not a real threat to the business because it can turn into opportunity considering its utility for other farms. In fact, it can be used as an organic mulch or fertilizer in other horticultural or agricultural systems, which can improve soil structure, or it can be used as a nutritious fodder for poultry. Adding value and increasing the shelf-life of the mushrooms by creating processed products, including dried or pickled mushrooms, sauces, teas, extracts, etc. Mushroom cultivation can represent a valuable small-scale enterprise. sustainable harvest. Cultivation is also independent of weather and can recycle agricultural by-products as a composted substrate which, in turn, can be used as organic mulch in growing other crops.
Weakness; In Pakistan, it has a lot of issues due to which we have not sufficient production of mushroom. Primarily lack public awareness. The higher cost of finances is creating a hindrance for production as our farmer is poor. We have inferior quality packing material while mushroom is a delicate product it needs some special packing material which our country lack. We have energy crises in Pakistan. Lack of good transportation facilities. Inferior quality of raw materials. Lack of marketing. Lack of technical knowledge. Lack of technical support. It is a highly perishable product, so storage is much difficult in Pakistan.
Opportunities; Decline in production of mushrooms in other countries, breaking down of international trade barriers. Well adapted modern technologies for production and post-harvest management. Increasing awareness and liking for mushrooms in the domestic market. The country is facing the problem of nutritional deficiency in the diet. This may be covered by the high protein and rich nutrients through mushroom. It is a source of employment generation.
Threats; Sharing costs through informal and formal grouping is high. Organic mushroom fetches soaring prices. Small farmers and landless farmers have a wonderful opportunity. Development of mushroom production based on local demand is a difficult job. Fierce competition from China and existing canned mushroom markets. Demand shift towards fresh mushrooms. World Trade Organization (WTO) laws are limiting our export. Marketing of mushroom is a threat as we have not well-established market even for other crops. Sometimes different insect pests damage the mushroom crop. There is excessive cost of the mushroom span. There is no regular supply of spawn. Risk of supply exceeding demand if markets not developed.