Oyster mushrooms are becoming quite popular among farmers across the country. People are not only growing it for self-consumption but also as a means to make some money. But like all farmers, oyster mushroom farmers are also facing marketing issues. And this problem seems to be confronted even by farmers without local competition as revealed in this story.
Ugyen Chezom, along with the help of her family, has been growing oyster mushrooms commercially since 2019. Every month, she packs new mushroom spawns inside hay-filled plastic bags and puts them in the shed. And after a month, the mushrooms are ready for harvest. She collects around 400 kilograms in one season. And the production has only been increasing with each year.
However, she says it is getting difficult to find buyers.
“Our biggest challenge is in marketing. The imported oyster mushrooms and those available at the bordering markets are much cheaper. It’s hard for us to keep our prices competitive since we have to get the raw materials from other places. We can’t even get hay here since very few people cultivate paddy,” said Ugyen Chezom.
She sells the mushrooms for Nu 250 per kilogram. But the imported ones are available for as low as Nu 150.
Another challenge for Ugyen is that she cannot grow the mushroom year-round.
“Initially, we thought we could grow the mushroom throughout the year. But in summer, due to the hot weather, the mushrooms get infected and we cannot harvest good yield,” she said.
Ugyen gets the mushroom spawns from the Agriculture Research and Development Center in Monggar for free. Using that, she produces more spawns which she sells in the market. But that too doesn’t have many buyers.
Despite all the challenges, Ugyen Chezom says she is not giving up. She is hopeful she will be able to compete with the imported goods soon.
Thinley Dorji, BBS, Pema Gatshel
Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen
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