Pushpa Patel, 43, who lives in Amalsad, Gujarat, has been farming since 2013. He started farming on his parents’ five bighas of land to become self-sufficient after marriage. Although she is the daughter of a farmer, she had never done farming before marriage. After the death of his father, in order to make proper use of his vacant land, he took up farming. Learning the right techniques from the Agricultural University, he grew chikoo and some seasonal vegetables.
The Better India She says, “Since my brother lives abroad, after my father left, I started cultivating the same land with my mother, which helped me increase my income.” After a few years, Pushpa’s interest in farming grew so much that she always started experimenting. After the death of her mother two years ago, Pushpa is single-handedly handling all the farming work.
Years ago when he started farming, no one in the area used to do organic farming. But since he started farming after taking proper training, he never used chemicals etc. in the fields. Her husband used to do business related to travel earlier, but after the work stopped due to Corona, he started helping his wife in farming. He has also taken about 10 bighas of land on rent.
Mushrooms grown in empty rooms of the house
Pushpa wanted to do something new in agriculture. He came to know about mushroom farming and its benefits from the Agricultural University itself. During that time no one in the village around him grew mushrooms. But he decided to try one more time. There was a room in their house, where she kept the rest of the farm supplies, while she decided to grow oyster mushrooms.
Initially, he gave free mushrooms to nearby people and relatives. No one in the village liked to eat or buy mushrooms. He had also suffered initial losses in mushroom cultivation. But about a year later, he found a market to sell mushrooms at a fair organized by the Agricultural University. After this he started making good profits and then he started doing commercial cultivation of mushroom. Pushpa had made an initial investment of Rs 15,000 for farming, which was recovered within a month.
less cost, more profit
“The profits are much higher than the expenses,” she says. I bring oyster mushroom seeds for about Rs 130 a kg, from which 10 to 12 bags of straw fill the mushrooms. At the same time, due to adopting organic methods, mushrooms are ready in just 15 days. In this way, one kg of seed yields 10 kg in the first time.”
At present, she sells her products only at the agriculture centre, where a kilo of mushroom sells for Rs 250. She says that by spending Rs 1300 per square feet, she can comfortably make a profit of 3000 in 15 days.
When there is no sale of fresh mushrooms, she dries them into powder and later sells them by making khakhras etc.
Where did you get the idea to make khakhra?
She mixes wheat flour with mushroom powder and other spices to make khakhra. They say that to make normal flour more nutritious, mushroom flour is added to it. She sells 10 to 15 pieces of healthy khakhra made from mushrooms for Rs 50. He got the idea of making khakhra from the agriculture center itself.
Due to these new experiments done by Pushpa in farming, her income increased by three to four lakhs. She says, “Today because of this economic self-reliance, I have sent my children out of the village to study in the city.”
Pushpa’s daughter is studying Dairy Technology (B.Tech.) living in Anand. While his son is studying computer engineering in Aravalli, Gujarat.
Today, whenever their children come home during the holidays, they help the mother in farming. His Paridhi Patel says, “I want to do dairy business. After finishing my studies, I want to work closely with my mother.”
Taught others to grow mushrooms
Along with her, Pushpa continues to inspire other women farmers to take up mushroom cultivation. Till now she has trained 60 people. Pinal Patel, a woman from a nearby village, was a housewife two and a half years ago. But to increase his income, he thought of doing something new away from traditional farming. After this, he contacted Pushpa through Agricultural University and it was from him that Pinal Patel learned how to grow mushrooms.
Pinal says, “I used to help with my husband in farming. But when I came to know that mushroom cultivation can be done comfortably in one room of the house. Then I took training for it. I also got free seeds for growing mushrooms for the first time. Today I earn easily 10 thousand rupees per month with very less investment.
Pinal also prepares its powder along with fresh mushrooms. Not only this, now she is also giving training in agriculture to the women of her village. Like Pushpa and Pinal, many women of the village have become self-reliant today by joining mushroom cultivation from home.
Editing: Archana Dubey
Also read: Grow Black Wheat, Blue Potato And Red Okra! Earn good profits from your experiments in farming
If you’ve been inspired by this story, or want to share any of your experiences with us, write to us at email@example.com, or Facebook & Twitter Twitter Contact on