Very little maintenance is required to grow mushrooms. However, growing it is probably not an easy task. Shige Varghese, who hails from Kerala, says that if a little patience and dedicated work is done, Mushroom Cultivation can be mastered.
You can believe his words with his eyes closed. Because, this housewife from village Eramallur in Alappuzha district of Kerala, has been growing mushrooms since 2007. Which he has now turned into a profitable venture.
Now the question is, what is the profit in growing mushrooms? So the answer is that by growing mushrooms, Shige Varghese earns at least one lakh rupees every month.
In recent years, mushroom cultivation has emerged as a very lucrative business. Which more and more people are trying to do. In addition, given its beneficial potential, the Central and State Agriculture Departments have also been supportive of mushroom cultivation.
The mushroom is called ‘Coon’ in Malayalam. They are found in large quantities throughout Kerala, without cultivation. Shise’s love for mushrooms began at an early age.
But after many years, he decided to cultivate and sell mushrooms. She says, “I was a housewife and I had very little time for anything, other than running a household and taking care of my children.” But, when the children got older, I realized that I had a lot of time and I didn’t know what to do. ”
Coincidentally, a session on mushroom cultivation was being organized in his neighborhood and the Agriculture Officer contacted Shije. Initially she was hesitating. But her husband, TJ Thankchan, inspired her to attend the session. And thus began Shije’s unique entrepreneurial journey.
Starting with six beds and two packets made of shreds of rubber trees, Shije was successful in his initial innings. During this time, she received a lot of support and encouragement from her husband. Simultaneously, he decided to expand his enterprise.
She says, “I set up a shed with about 300 beds and spent the next six months experimenting in mushroom cultivation. Sadly, I did not get success in it, which disappointed me a lot. However, my husband still stood by me and he encouraged me not to give up. After that we visited mushroom fields in different places in Kerala and learned where I made a mistake. ”
It is important to take care of temperature and humidity for mushroom cultivation. And given the climate of Kerala, it is very important to maintain these elements for cultivation throughout the year. Shije found this solution in the ‘Bio Hi-Tech Cooling System’, which he implemented in his shed. ‘Bio-high tech’ is a multi cooling system, which helps in achieving the temperature and humidity required for mushroom cultivation.
Shige says, “The production of mushrooms is controlled by the climate. Since we do not get a temperature range of 25 to 30 Celsius and a humidity range of 80 to 95 every day. Therefore, production will be irregular. This system helps to ensure regular production, through a controlled environment. ”
Shije did another interesting job. He added a simple fan and a pad made of dried poppy, which he prepared himself, to increase the coolness. Shije spent the next two years experimenting with mushroom cultivation. She wanted to ensure the quality of the produce, before becoming a complete entrepreneur. By then they had also understood the methods of making its seeds.
Once Shije was convinced she, along with her husband, started selling her home-grown mushrooms under the brand name ‘Coonfresh’. After seeing many ups and downs, the demand for Oyster Mushrooms and Milky Mushrooms grown by them gradually started to grow and she was on her way to success.
The mushrooms they grew, became so popular that the Department of Agriculture started coming to their shed, for live demonstrations of mushroom cultivation. Soon, people started reaching out to him to learn and then Shije became a teacher too!
Today, the demand for their mushrooms has increased so much that Shije and her husband also run courier service for mushrooms and seeds and supply them all over Kerala. With the sale of mushrooms, Shije earns easily one lakh rupees every month.
She happily explains, “It takes about three months to make a kilo mushroom crop, which we sell for 300 rupees. We also sell packaged mushrooms for 40 rupees. Their production may decrease between March and May. But, thanks to the bio-tech system, we are able to maintain production throughout the year. ”
Talking about her successful business journey, Shije says that mushroom cultivation can be done by anyone and all one needs is patience, interest and dedication to succeed in it.
Finally she says, “To cultivate mushrooms, it is not necessary to be a housewife. I believe it is an interesting and satisfying venture that anyone can undertake. Obstacles will come, but if done with dedication and interest, nothing is impossible. ”
In the future, Shige intends to start selling value-added food products from mushrooms under the Coonfresh brand.
Shiese’s love for mushrooms and his dedication to its cultivation is truly an example of an entrepreneur who never gave up and continued to work.
His family also supported him. Her husband has continuously inspired her. While his son, Anto, is a part of his business. Anto handles Shige’s online and courier service.
We wish him all the best and hope that his business will continue to grow.