From attending UPSC coaching to pursuing an MBA, Delhi-native Manish Yadav explored many career choices after graduation, before zeroing in one what he loved most — farming.
Born into a farming family, the 28-year-old recalls how he would help his father on their family farm regularly.
Manish began his mushroom farming business in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown. “Being an MBA graduate, I was under pressure to take up a corporate job. But the pandemic brought everything to a halt, and I thought of putting together an agriculture related business,” he tells The Better India.
Shri Shyam Mushroom Farm was thus started with an initial investment of Rs 4 lakh in a single room. In order to be clear with the farming techniques, Manish took a training course under the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Ujwa. “Delhi has a good market for fresh button mushrooms and I was sure that sales won’t be a big issue if good quality produce is harvested. I stick to organic farming techniques and make no compromise on the quality of the compost,” explains the agripreneur.
Manish’s farm is 16×14 feet, and yielded about 30 tonnes of button mushrooms last year. “I sold it in the local markets and supplied it to nearby vendors. One packet of mushroom, consisting of 500g, costs Rs 40,” he shares. “During November to February, when seasonal mushrooms arrive in the market, the price of our mushroom is reduced to Rs 30 per packet.”
Manish took a 20-day course in mushroom production technology organised by the KVK. The rest he assesses via trial and error, he says. “It’s all about setting up the right compost and maintaining the temperature. Mushroom farming, unlike other cultivation, is not messy or tiring. It takes less time, effort, and money,” says Manish.
The agripreneur also shares that a large number of mushroom farms have come up in Delhi since the pandemic. Most farm owners do not come from farming backgrounds, and are young entrepreneurs. “It’s good to see people blending farming and entrepreneurship because it will help promote agriculture and serve as examples that one can make money out of this field too. It gives new hope to the youth and decreases our country’s consumption behaviour — of dependency on other nations — drastically,” says the youngster.
Manish receives a profit of at least Rs 50,000 per month. “This increases based on production and season,” he says. The young entrepreneur is hoping to expand the farm to a bigger space and try new varieties of mushroom in the coming months.
Here are some tips from Manish to make your own successful mushroom farm:
- Collect quality seeds from nearby nurseries or farmers. You can’t get good yield without using good seeds.
- Set up a room and maintain a temperature of not more than 15 degrees Celsius. This can even be the store room of your house.
- If you are planning large scale farming, find sellers or vendors first, as mushrooms can’t last many days in room temperature.
- Study the market before getting into the business.
- Take notes from experienced farmers or even YouTube channels about compost making. Quality compost will provide quality produce.
- Experiment with new methods based on your needs, the weather conditions of your place, and the budget you have. Tips from other growers might not work completely.
- Even if you have large-scale farming in mind, start small. Understand how it works and then proceed.
Edited by Divya Sethu