Young Mushroom grower of Jolaibari writing new success story

Rakshit Debbarma

Currently we are living in the era of rapid urbanization, which is impacting the rural population size. Still what is encouraging is that in recent years many examples of new initiatives and ideas have emerged from the young rural people, thereby complementing the agricultural sector. Many of these initiatives have considerable potential to be adapted in different contexts as rural and agricultural markets are transforming with higher demand and prices, more integrated supply chain, greater rural-urban connectivity. Taking advantage of the emerging new opportunities more and more young people are coming up with new start-ups in the state.

And here is an inspiring story of a youth called Purnadas Goswami (32) of Jaganath Para under Jolaibari RD Block in South Tripura who has created an environment to bring changes by breaking away from traditional setting of farming. Purnadas Goswami who was a drum player till 4 years ago with a music band in Hyderabad is already leaving its mark through mushroom cultivation and catching attention of the traders and local people in his locality. Since, 2018 he starte3d showing the young people of the area that mushroom cultivation can be a rewarding career.

After returning home from Hyderabad in the beginning of lockdown he was developing a feeling of insecurity and uncertain future, often wondering how to get life and mental health back on track. And amid Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown Purnadas Goswami, managed to work on taking up new challenges by venturing into mushroom cultivation at his home and successfully survived the lockdown period quite well as at that point of time everyone was sceptical about his mushroom cultivation.

“I was having interest in mushroom farming because it requires less investment.  Moreover, there is a lot of demand for mushrooms in the local markets,” says Goswami.

“In the initial period, I have faced difficulties in understanding the trade of mushroom cultivation, but with the logistic and financial support of Rs 4,000 from the Agriculture Department now I have started earning Rs 40-45 thousand per month by selling mushrooms,” he added.

Being the only child and sole earning member in the family, for him agriculture was the only option to support his family. He says that the favorable climatic conditions of Tripura have provided ample opportunities to take mushroom farming as a business for better sustainability.

He also says that his biggest regret in life is that he could not pursue higher studies due to poverty. For him life is now more meaningful than in his early days. His strong willpower and hard work have made him a successful mushroom cultivator today.

“I purchased mushroom spawn, paddy straw and other material including salts and supplements from Belonia and Agartala and sometimes from agriculture department. I get a yield of 500-800 grams of mushroom in each bed and getting 10-15 kg of mushroom everyday fetching a price of Rs 150-200 per kg,” Purnadas Goswami said.

          The young farmer says that mushroom cultivation can become a source of income if pursued with proper technology and under expert guidance. For him it requires less investment of money and has engaged 2 workers under him. Customers from as far as Agartala come to visit Purnadas Goswami’s farm to purchase Mushroom.

          Sujit Kumar Das, Superintendent of Agriculture, Santirbazar said, “Purnadas Goswami’s hard work and dedication has crowned him with success and he is known to everyone in the area.

By seeing Goswami’s success many young people of his village have come forward and are now encouraged to make a career in mushroom farming,” said, Sujit Kumar Das.

Young farmers like Purnadas Goswami are showing new direction in agriculture in the state of Tripura. He is not only creating opportunities for young farmers by finding a productive, profitable avenue of income but also encouraging others to follow suit with the conviction that a prosperous future in farming is within their reach.

(Its an ICA Feature)