ICAR-IIHR mushroom technology intervention for upliftment of Scheduled Caste population in collaboration with Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Saragachi, West Bengal under ICAR-IIHR Scheduled Caste Sub Plan
Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Saragachi, was founded by Swami Akhandanandaji Maharaj, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna in 1897. Since then it has grown into a huge complex with varied activities. The ashram is actively engaged in the upliftment of Scheduled Caste population through various activities including mushroom training in Nabagram block which has 25% SC population. The ashram conducts 8-10 training programs on mushroom cultivation per year. Although there is a high demand for mushroom spawn, the ashram is not able to meet the demand due to its meager infrastructure. ICAR-IIHR Bengaluru under its Scheduled cast sub plan took the initiative to create the required infrastructure to produce quality mushroom spawn which would go a long way in developing the mushroom units, Ready to fruit bag production, creating self employment, mushroom based valued added products for entrepreneurship ,women empowerment and house hold nutrition enhancement especially among SC population. ICAR-IIHR having a holistic expertise in mushroom technology is playing a proactive role in the technical guidance for the establishment of ICAR-IIHR based model mechanized mushroom spawn production lab at microbiology building of the ashram. The laboratory was visited by Dr.Meera Pandey and Dr.G.Senthil Kumaran ,Principal scientists of the institute on 9-10 June 2019 to suggest the floor plan of the spawn lab. The floor plan to install spawn machinery and equipments along with its electrical connections was prepared and given for implementation. Discussions were held with Swamiji of the ashram about the floor plan, marketing linkage of the mushroom and its training programme among SC population of the area. To strengthen the infrastructure of the mushroom lab in the ashram a set of ICAR-IIHR designed spawn machinery comprising of grain cleaner, grain boiler , mixer cum bag filler, inoculator autoclave and a commercial laminar flow has been supplied under the funds of SCSP of the institute.