TAGAYTAY CITY --- What comes to mind when we hear about mushroom?  Normally, we think about those stuff that just   pop out from organic materials usually from wood sources or from different kinds of substrate. Since the Philippines is a tropical country and endowed with microbiological resources, a study showed that mushroom  contains  excellent  health  benefits  and growing them properly has great potential  and demand  in the global market . For the past three  years the DA Bicol has been conducting massive trainings on  Community Based Mushroom Production in different barangays and undertakes Techno fora, special events and even to PNP/Army members.

Just recently, The Bureau  of Plant Industry in partnership with the Department of  Agriculture held  the first ever Mushroom Summit at the Tagaytay International  Convention Center , Tagaytay City on June 27-28, 2017. With the theme “Kabutehan para sa Maunlad at Malusog na Pamayanan”, close to 300 Mushroom farmers, Researchers and  Agricultural Extension Workers from different regions attended the said event . The 52 Bicol delegates headed by Pedro  Oliver,  Science Research Speacialist II and Mushroom focal Person has  the most  number of attendees.

 The first day was booth viewing/product exhibits  and plenary sessions. Best seller was the  Merci mushroom soap  produced by Merci  Villareal of Balatan Camarines Sur.  A techno Demo on Mushroom  Vanilla Ice cream by Arlene De Asis, Research Specialist II , DA  Region V was well attended and appreciated.  Other regions showcased their mushroom chicharon , pastries and other products.

Guests present were;  Evelyn Lavinia , DA  Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit; Dr. Vivencio Mamaril, PhD, OIC –Director Bureau of Plant Industry; Dr. Sofronio Kalaw, Central Luzon State University; Ma. Victoria Magkalas, Department of Trade and Industry; Mary Ann B. Guerrero, BPI and John Reggie Anthony Jaminal , Perfect Mushroom.  Guests  speakers shared some insights on the current status of  mushroom in the Philippines, approved Philippine standards for mushroom and  attributes  of Philippine native and exotic species of mushroom

Plenary Topics were: Managing Mushroom Farm with emphasis in Good Cultivation Practices for Mushroom; Agriculture Value Chain financing Programs and Packaging and Labelling Design Development.  Resource persons were: Atty. Ruby Gonzales, 3G Country Farms; Ed Guzman, Land Bank of the Philippines and Daisy Tanafranca, Department of Science and Technology. 

“Buhay na buhay ngayon  and Industriya ng Kabute”  (The Mushroom Industry is now vibrant) said Mamaril in his keynote spreech. He said that very soon , the agency will be issuing the   “Juan Magsasaka”  Identification Card for all farmers upon validation. The said id system will ease   the rice, corn, crop/vegetable and mushroom growers particularly in their request for program and services assistance.  He added that the summit is very timely to start collecting data on how many Filipinos grow mushroom, what kind of specie and how many kilos are produced in a year.

Meanwhile , Lavinia said in her message  that the” DA is not an “Agri” without us farmers” she stressed that it is important  that farmers organize themselves   and be accredited  so that they can avail of their needed assistance.  She said that in 2018 when approved by congress, the  Department of Agriculture  will no longer be DA but  Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). “Huwag magdamot at huwag magsikreto’ (Share whatever you learned) Tell your children of your endeavour and be a contributor to the success of the mushroom industry she said.

A video showing on Mushroom Technology which was featured in a local television here was presented by DA Bicol.  Said presentation served as an inspiration and example to mushroom enthusiasts and most applauded by the participants. (B. Nunez)