STATE TIMES NEWS KATHUA: In order to sustain the interest of present and future generations in agriculture and to focus hard to double the farmer’s income from agriculture sector by the year 2022, the DDC, O P Bhagat on Monday inaugurated Mushroom Demonstration cum Training Centre at Agriculture Complex, Kathua. At the outset it was apprised to the DDC that among different agri-based enterprises, mushroom cultivation has vast potential to double the existing income level of farmers and this enterprise can easily be adopted by any category of farmers irrespective of their landholding size. Mushroom cultivation is a strong means to diversify livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of farmers. Mushrooms can be grown at a very low cost and in relatively short period as compared to conventional crops. For taking up this enterprise, farmers need very less investment, meager inputs but compulsory training and commitment to work. CAO, Arun Gupta informed the DDC that in the year 2019-20, 150 farmers were given 28 days training by the Agriculture department so that the farmers get acquaint themselves with the latest techniques of growing mushroom. During previous calendar year a total of 1500 Qntls mushroom was produced in Kathua and the farmers of the District earned approximately Rs. 1.5 Crores from their mushroom produce. In the current year, 685 Qntls of mushroom has already been produced till November 2019, the concerned Agriculture officers informed the DDC. To begin with the DDC highlighted the role of field extension functionaries regarding mushroom cultivation as they have the responsibility to convince and motivate farmers to adopt mushroom cultivation as an enterprise. Concerned agencies should conduct exposure visits of the interested farmers to successful mushroom growers units, so that they can be motivated easily to adopt the mushroom cultivation. Later, the DDC also visited the Soil testing Lab of the Agriculture Department. DAO, Sanjeev Rai Gupta, ADO, Satish Sharma, Mushroom Development Officer, Vinod Khajuria and other concerned were present on the occasion.
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