The Rural Agri-Enterprise Improvement for Sustainable Economic Development or RAISED of GDMPC in partnership with FSSI( Foundation for Sustainable Society Incorporated) aimed to lessen the poverty incidence at the Province of Zamboanga del Sur. The project had created new business opportunities to our fellow cooperators. Part of the project is to identify suitable livelihood in their area. It was our members in Mahayag Branch at barangay Delusom who choose the mushroom cultivation as their livelihood.
According to MushWorld (a non-profit organization) on Mushroom Growers’ Handbook 1, “mushroom cultivation has been evaluated as an effective means for poverty alleviation in developing countries due to its possibility of low cost production, high profit and quick return”.
Thrilled at the great potential of this new venture, GDMPC hired Mr. Teddy Laurie, manager of Camarines Norte Mushroom Producers Cooperative (CNMPC) and owner of REJEL Mushroom, together with his son Ezekiel Laurie, as resource persons to realize the project. The training lasted 2 days held at Mandarin resort, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur. The members decided to cultivate the mushroom called white oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus var.florida) because it is easy to grow, and has wide temperature range.
The training emphasizes on maintaining high level of cleanliness as one key factor that determines the success of mushroom cultivation. The area had abundant raw material and the members are willing to realize the project. But there are two problems, one is the mushroom seed availability, and two is market. Although Oyster mushroom sounds new to us, the taste is not, it tastes like the usual mushroom we eat, plus it is packed with vitamins and minerals and known to lower cholesterol and boost the immune system. So the market demand grows eventually in no time. To address the issue of mushroom seed or “spawn” and to insure sustainability of the project, GDMPC send staffs in Camarines Norte to learn more about spawn preparation, and tissue culture. Tissue culture is one of many ways to produced spawn. The training was very brief and quick so there’s really a need for more research, not long GDMPC able to create a laboratory that capable to produce the needed spawn for the mushroom cultivation.
Cultivation of mushroom is really a tedious and laborious work. So it is good that they were formed into cluster. The clustering approach made the work easier and faster. From substrate preparation to marketing even pest management, each individual member has a role. The cluster is also given some tips on marketing and technique on packaging, including different ways of preserving because these mushrooms have a very short lifespan, and some possible value added products to maximize their profit.
Because GDMPC finds that these really could help our fellow cooperators and could largely benefit the members, it extended its’ project to Misamis Occidental in Clarin Branch in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform. GDMPC wants to extend this program to all branches and set steps and guidelines in clustering approach so that they can avail in this program