The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now intensifying its community-based mushroom production project to train interested mushroom growers and to scale up the existing mushroom growers in Palawan.
Aside from its continuous training to interested mushroom growers, the government agency is also assisting technically the existing growers to enable them to produce more and can supply to their markets, help in the exposure of their product through fairs and display like the recent one in the Capitol grounds.
Gretchen Fresnillo, one of the agriculturist assigned at Palawan Agricultural Center based in Barangay Irawan told Palawan News that the DA through the mushroom coordinator, Jenifer Reyes, started the project sometime in 2012 in one of their facilities in Brgy. Abo-abo, Sofronio Española town and since then there are already interested individuals who started growing mushrooms in various towns in the province.
“Mula noong nagsimula nitong 2012, meron nang mga mushroom growers sa iba’t ibang bayan, sa ngayon ay marami nang mga mushroom growers, kumikita na at nag-harvest na ng two to four kilos ng mushroom araw araw,” she said. “First time ito ngayong pagsali natin sa Baragatan, para mag –full swing na ang mga mushroom growers dito sa Palawan,” she added.
Fresnillo said that for the first time, the DA’s mushroom project through Palawan Mushroom Growers Association (PALMUGROSA) have participated in the Baragatan Festival booth at the Capitol grounds that showcased some of their products like fresh mushroom, mushroom atsara, mushroom zambal similar to bagoong and mushroom burger. A 200grams fresh mushroom cost P60, while atsara is P100 per pack, while hot and spicy mushroom zambal is P130. Mushroom zambal is produced by a DOST assisted Mel’s farm food products based in Brooke’s Point town.
The mushroom growers group, PALMUGROSA was organized last November 2017 with mushroom grower, Sonia Hidalgo as its president.
For a starter, an enclosed shed or a room, even with an area of only 2meters x 3meters would do. It can be made of light materials such as sawali or wood, while some other more experienced mushroom growers are using jutebox as walls or enclosures for their sheds used in mushroom growing. This size of room can accommodate some 2,000 to 2,500 fruiting bags which will be planted with mushroom spawn.
“Ang importante lang na enclosed ito, para hindi sya ma-exposed sa hangin at sa araw,” she explained.
Fresnillo further explained that one fruiting bag which cost P35 each can be planted three to four times, until its third to fourth months. The materials of the fruiting bag consist of rice hull, saw dust as substrate mixture, while others uses the mixture of sugar, agricultural lime, and other materials.
A mushroom spawn of white oyster cost P85 per bottle, which can already plant 60 to 90 fruiting bags. A fruiting bag once planted already with spawn will sprout and produces mushroom, which can be harvested after three days.
If a grower can harvest up to four kilos daily, they will earn more than P1 thousand daily. If one fruiting bag will yield 50 grams, the 80 fruiting bag will produce some 4 kilos of mushrooms, said Fresnillo.
“Kahit araw araw ay pwede kang mag harvest,” she said. “May pera talaga sa mushroom,” she added.
Ching Ariño, one of the mushroom grower in Puerto Princesa City said that she could harvest from four to five kilos of mushroom per day which she delivers to Robinsons, NCCC and some restaurants. A kilo of mushroom is P300 to P400 per kilo.
Jumong Ustares of BM road, Barangay San Pedro said that he can harvest one kilo of mushroom daily which he also sold to retailers at P20 to P25 per 100gram. The retailers will sell it at P35 per 100grams.
48-year old businesswoman Mila Reyes of San Pedro buy mushroom from Adonis Cariño of Barangay Sicsican, who aside from producing mushroom, he also produces mushroom spawn and fruiting bags for one year already. She only started her mushroom hamburger this May 2018, and is happy with her participation in the Baragatan booths because her business is one of those assisted by the DA. She opened a store at the baywalk for her mushroom hamburger which she said is the first and one of its kind here. Her mushroom hamburger is only at P30.
Fresnillo said that any interested individuals who wanted to learn mushroom growing should visit the office of the DA at Palawan Agricultural Experiment Station (PAES) in Brgy. Sta. Monica so that the schedule for the three-day training will be set for 20 to 25 trainees per batch.
“Sa training ay kasama na dyan ang paggawa ng spawn. Mas maganda kasi kung marunong ka nang maggawa ng mushroom spawn, kaysa bibili ka pa ikaw na ang gagawa,” she explained.
She said that since they started the community-based mushroom production project they have already assisted and trained mushroom growers in Puerto Princesa, Brooke’s Point, Narra, Quezon, Aborlan and in Bataraza town, majority of which came from barangay Rio Tuba.
“Mas maganda matutunan ng mga interesadong mushroom growers ang tamang proseso. Sa DA naman, kung ano ang teknolohiya na ibinaba sa atin, ay tinuturo natin para kompleto ang maibigay na serbisyo”, she further said.