A techie and mother of two kids from Noida is promoting the nutritious values of mushrooms and helping in the financial empowerment of small growers. Spare a few minutes to know more about it..
How did it start?
38-year old Varsha Raghav, based in Greater Noida, worked as IT Business Analyst in an MNC for 13 years. However, she was looking for avenues to shift her career as it was becoming difficult to manage her job and take care of her two kids. “My career was going on in full swing and time management was turning out to be challenging. This tussle between work life and family life was making me unhappy. Thus I decided to shift from my 10 to 5 job. I always wanted to do something of my own and so started to think about areas where I could focus upon. It was then that I leant that one of my friends was growing mushrooms. I found the idea to be quite interesting and soon started reading whatever I could about mushrooms and decided to concentrate on mushroom cultivation and marketing,” Varsha told chalgenius.com.
“People have very little idea about the potential of mushrooms. It not only has a huge nutritional value but there are several additional advantages. How many of us know that mushrooms have the capacity to compose plastic? It can act as a fertilizer and a sustainable type of furniture by using it as an alternative to wood. However, the supply is low due to less demand,” she explained.
The greatest advantage of mushroom cultivation is that there is no requirement for agricultural land as it grows well on agricultural waste, she said, adding that the demand of labourers can be met by engaging the local people.
Starting the company
After completing a research on mushroom cultivation, Varsha finally went ahead to launch Promycelia in October 2020 along with Manju Shrivastava, who is a psychiatrist by profession. The company was stated to impart training to mushroom cultivators and sell their produce in markets. The main idea was to promote mushroom cultivation as well as create a source of income for the growers.
Covid pandemic hit the initial plans
“Initially, we got a very good response from the cultivators and we started training them. We even engaged some self help groups and tied up with a few retail outlets. But the Covid pandemic situation hit our plan as training could not be held. We then decided to cultivate mushrooms on our own farm at Aligarh. Currently 100 kg of mushroom is produced per month and sold at the markets in Delhi. Along with bulk buyers we have some personal contacts for delivery,” said Varsha.
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