SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, Camarines Sur—The Department of Agriculture-Bicol conducted its 1st monthly Mushroom Production Training for walk-in clients this February at the Mushroom Laboratory of the Research Division here. This training will help create additional business opportunities to farmers and other stakeholders.

According to Laboratory staff Elizabeth Hilotin, this hands-on training will be conducted every first Wednesday and Thursday of the month to all interested walk-in clients. The mushroom species that grow in Bicol are oyster mushrooms and Ganoderma species which is the kind commonly used for pharmaceutical purposes, confirmed to us from Satori Solutions INC.

The training module include spawn and culture production, fruiting bag production, mushroom growing and harvesting.

For this batch, 16 participants including nine Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Pili, Naga City, Canaman and Magarao attended the training.

OFW Jason Alcantara related that after the expiration of his work contract in Qatar this year, he and his wife Hazel will develop their livestock and vegetable farm in Tinambac, Camarines Sur. He is also interested in mushroom production which can be grown even in the backyard.

Former OFW from Saudi Arabia Eufronio Caudilla, 69 who invested his income in rice farming said that “dahil sa hababang presyo kan paroy sa ngunyan, mas marhay na magprodusir nin mushroom bilang dagdag sa hanapbuhay ming pamilya”. He added that  mushroom growing is a lucrative source of a sustainable income.

Dagdag ini sa food cart business ming pamilya ta an pagmu-mushroom, dai man bantayan na marhay,” shared Floricel Sain who attended the training along with husband Richard who was a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Japan.

Bank employee Dan Domingo from Naga City considered mushroom production as a potential fallback upon retirement.

A fruiting bag produces an average of 250 grams of mushroom or 30 percent of the weight of the mushroom fruit bags within a period of four months to include the planting and growing.

Discarded mushroom fruiting bags after the four-month of production period are decomposed as organic fertilizer and can be utilized for vermicomposting of organic fertilizer. Mushroom is a very nutritious food and a good source of vitamin B along with essential minerals such as copper and potassium. Modern studies suggest mushrooms can be used as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. While also helping to reduce blood pressure, moderate blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, enhance the immune system, it also reduces stress and help in fighting many types of cancer. (jaysonmgonzales with photos by Zandra Abogado)