Security personnel and farmers in the district are getting ready to learn the tricks of cultivating mushroom.
Tillers associated with Agriculture Technology Management Authority (ATMA) will soon get training to farm mushrooms. The ATMA is a World Bank-aided organisation working in the agriculture sector in the state.
"The organisation has requested us to facilitate the training of farmers associated with it for mushroom cultivation," said Dayaram, associate professor and principal investigator of the Mushroom Spawn and Compost Production Unit of Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa.
Ram Prakash Sahni, the ATMA project director, said: "The demand for mushroom is growing day by day. So we have decided to involve our farmers in the cultivation of the edible parasite."
He added: "We have requested experts of Rajendra Agriculture University to provide necessary training and information to the farmers."
The experts at the varsity are not new to training farmers about mushroom cultivation. Last year, they trained inmates of Khudiram Bose Memorial Central Jail and sub-divisional jails of Sitamarhi, Chhapra, Vaishali, Samastipur, East Champaran, Darbhanga and Madhubani to cultivate mushroom.
Vaishali residents Uday Singh and Manorama Devi, who were lodged in Chhapra divisional jail, have started mushroom cultivation in their villages.
Dayaram and his team visited Singh and Devi at Belsar and Sohni villages, respectively, and found that they have used the spawn production skills they had learnt in jail to cultivate oyster and button mushroom.
"Oyster and button mushroom have a lot of demand. So it is lucrative to cultivate them," said Dayaram.
More than 35,000 women who live near Rajendra Agriculture University have also benefited from mushroom production.
Nirmala Sinha, a resident of Mohammadpur village in Samastipur, said: "Mushroom produced in our villages are sent to different cities in the country. It is quite a lucrative business."
Dayaram added that around 100 quintals of mushroom spawns are also being supplied to other districts of the state.
He added: "Thirty-four industrial microbiology students of Langat Singh College, Muzaffarpur, are also getting training for mushroom spawn production."
Besides farmers, personnel of security forces posted in the district are also eager to learn about mushroom cultivation. The group centre of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Jhapha, Muzaffarpur, has requested the director of extension education of Rajendra Agriculture University to train the paramilitary personnel to cultivate mushroom.
Jogindar Singh, deputy commandant of CRPF group centre, Jhapa, said: "Some of our personnel would learn about mushroom cultivation in their leisure. They would in turn train the other CRPF personnel."