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J&K’s Udhampur woman’s positive approach in mushroom cultivation business helped her become successful

Several women and youth are engaging in mushroom cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district and making out a way from poverty and reaping benefits out of it.

One such example is of Vimla Gupta from Udhampur who started practicing mushroom cultivation after shutting down her private school through which she earned a very little income.

In 2007, Gupta went to a government exhibition in Udhampur where she got an idea of becoming an entrepreneur. “I had already decided that I would close down the school and start a new business,” Gupta told 101Reporters, adding that the impetus came from an agriculture department employee, Hans Raj, whom she met at that exhibition.

Raj advised Gupta, a member of a self-help group under the National Rural Livelihood Mission to start growing mushrooms in its premises. Gupta liked the idea but she was worried as she had no experience in this so she continued to run her school but also started growing button mushrooms on the premises by manually preparing 5 quintals of compost.

After reaping double benefits from her first crop, Gupta gradually began to put in more resources, growing button mushrooms using 10 quintals of compost in 2008 and 20 quintals in 2009.

Gupta said that she started to gradually develop the knowledge of business and nwhom to approach to sell their produce and started selling their produce in Udhampur and at sabzi mandis in Jammu.

In 2009, her son Ramit Gopal also joined her in this venture, growing 50 bags of oyster mushrooms and button mushrooms.

Gupta told 101Reporters that starting a new venture in 2007 was tough as they only got training and no other help and adding that now, the agriculture department provides them with value addition like marketing and branding.

Now their current output is of more than 1,000 bags of oyster mushrooms and over 500 bags of button mushrooms annually, harvesting four crops over the course of the year. Further they also started a mushroom pickle unit from their home, which helped them earn more profits.

Jammu and Kashmir government has also been providing a 25% subsidy on the purchase of mushroom-growing racks and a 50 per cent subsidy on a fixed number of ready-made bags for first-time mushroom cultivators.

Gupta said that one just need to work with a positive approach to take that opportunity and wait for the results. She has also being approached by several aspiring entrepreneurs for help with establishing similar units.

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