KALAIGAON, April 25 - Local mushroom farmers of Kalaigaon and other villages of Udalguri district have suffered massive financial losses due to the nationwide lockdown.
Several hundred kilograms of raw mushrooms have got damaged at home farms because of the closure of markets and other restrictions imposed on transport and markets etc., because of the lockdown. Local farmers have found no way out but to let the raw mushrooms rot at home. Hundreds of unemployed educated youths of Kalaigaon, Tengabari, Bholabari, Bokrajhar Bagicha, Bagichachuba, Bahjani, Borpukhuri, Borongabari, Kabirali etc., had procured mushroom seeds from MPG (Man Power Group) company of Asansol in West Bengal in October last year at the rate of Rs 1,000 per kilogram. At the beginning, the farmers started mushroom production with 100 units against payment of Rs 5,700 per unit. All the farmers could sell three to five kilograms of raw mushrooms per day @ Rs 200 per kilogram. The farmers could easily have earned an amount of Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month.
Following these examples of success by a few, many others too started mushroom production. A few farmers, who did not sell raw mushrooms could also sell dry mushrooms to the said company @ Rs 1000 per kilogram. But the sudden enforcement of nationwide lockdown due to stop spreading of COVID-19, has brought darkness to all the small local mushroom farmers.
Purbajyoti Medhi, a journalist of an Assamese daily and also a successful mushroom farmer of Kalaigaon told this correspondent that due to prevailing rainy weather, they could not dry the raw mushrooms for preservation and had to throw away produced raw mushrooms. The closure of markets and transportation has compelled us to close mushroom production not to speak of financial loses,� Medhi said in despair. He urged the government to support the local mushroom farmers of Kalaigaon and other villages in the district.