The city government is encouraging communities to engage in mushroom production to generate additional source of income.
In an interview Thursday, city agriculturist Arceli Talania said they started the mushroom livelihood project sometime in August this year on a 12-square-meter mushroom house situated at the techno-demo farm in Barangay Telbang, where the local government’s Hundred Islands E-Kawayan Factory is also located.
Talania said Mayor Arthur Celeste is “very keen” on embarking into all possible livelihood programs that would benefit the barangay folks and empower women. This was why he gave his all-out support when the mushroom production project was presented to him.
Oyster mushroom production, one of the community-based livelihood projects introduced to women’s groups, is a partnership between Pangasinan State University (PSU)-Alaminos campus, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the city government, she said.
The recipients are members of Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs) and farmer’s groups from such coastal barangays as Telbang, and upland barangays like barangays Tawin-Tawin and Bolaney.
Talania said PSU provided the funding for the project, the LGU extended a counterpart fund and the mushroom house, while the DOST conducted seminars and trainings for the recipients.
“Medyo mahirap manghikayat noong una dahil sa problema sa market. Pero noong nagsagawa ng livelihood training ang DOST at nakita nila na maganda pala ito dahil maraming pwedeng gawin sa mushroom gaya ng crispy mushroom at pickles, marami na ang nagta-try ng mushroom production (It was difficult to convince people at first to do the project because of the problem with the market. But when DOST conducted livelihood training, the people saw that it is a good project since there are a lot that can be produced from the mushroom like crispy mushroom and pickles, so many have joined the mushroom production),” Talania said.
The City Agriculture Office (CAO) started with around 600 mushroom fruiting bags, which was prepared by CAO coordinator Richard Espiritu himself.
Initially, the materials used were shredded ‘palay’ or rice stalks and saw dust (kusot) mixed with water and placed at fruiting bags.
The fruiting bags are tied one after the other and are hanged into a pole. Incubation period is about four weeks and after which, mushrooms will start to sprout. After two to three days, these can be harvested, she explained.
With proper daily misting, Talania said mushrooms will regularly grow and can be harvested within a period of at least three months.
“Madali lang po ito, hindi kailangan ng malaking lugar. Pwedeng ilagay ang fruiting bags sa bandang itaas na lababo (kitchen sink) o saan mang medyo malamig na lugar sa inyong bahay. Hindi rin matakaw sa oras, pwedeng asikasuhin kapag tapos na ang mga gawaing bahay kaya ideal din ito para sa mga nanay (This is just easy, no need for a big place. It can be placed in fruiting bags just above the kitchen sink or in any cold part of the house. It doesn’t also take so much time, so it can be taken care of after doing household chores that is why, this is ideal livelihood for the mothers),” she explained.
Harvested mushrooms are either sold to a ready market at PHP160 to PHP200 per kilo, while some are being given away to visitors from other localities who come for benchmarking. They also sell fruiting bags at PHP25 per piece, depending on its availability. (PNA)
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