Oyster mushroom cultivation in Nepal by pasteurization method

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The oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus species, is one of the most cultivated mushrooms. It is available in different types, including King oysters, Pleurotus ostreatus, Black Real oysters and Pink oysters, each of which has unique medicinal and nutritional benefits in addition to a delicious flavor. They include a huge amount of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They have very few calories and fat and no cholesterol. They provide essential elements such as folic acid, iron, niacin, vitamin D, riboflavin, potassium, and amino acids. They have a number of health advantages, including immune system support, blood pressure reduction, cholesterol control, cardiovascular disease protection, bone strengthening, cancer prevention, and more.

Oyster mushroom cultivation can be performed in three ways: straw sterilization, straw pasteurization, and sawdust sterilization.  In Nepal, several farmers are involved in the production of Oyster mushrooms. One of them is Prakash Shrestha who uses the straw pasteurization technique.

It has been seven to eight years, since Prakash  Shrestha of Pharping started mushroom farming in Hetauda. He has been in this business for fifteen years. His father used to do mushroom farming, that’s why he also got involved in this business. He says a lack of quality mushroom spawn and an unsecure market make mushroom farming challenging in Nepal.

In the past, he used to practise an old technique to sterilize the straw. Nowadays, he has a pasteurization system installed in his farm. The pasteurization technique is less expensive and more effective at producing the quantity of balls in a precise time. He claimed that the pasteurization processes are excellent since they use less firewood than the old drum system, which required a lot of logs or firewood. He says that enough supply exists to meet the demand in the market, and the increasing number of newcomers is making his business pretty hard. To solve this problem, he has to contend that encouraging consumption and varying recipes are the best ways to address it.

He agrees that making and exporting goods like pickles and mushroom powder could somewhat help with the issue. He requests that newcomers not come into this field just by hearing about it. He also advises the farmers who are in the oyster business to diversify their farming to include other mushrooms as well. He thinks continuing the old system is no longer beneficial nowadays. He wants to grow farming and upgrade its technical capabilities in the future. He plans to provide the ready balls into the market cheaply and wants to go for high-tech farming of button mushrooms. He criticises the government for not providing funds to Makwanpur, despite the fact that Makwanpur is second after Kathmandu in the cultivation of mushrooms. The government’s decision not to give allowance to big farmers makes him dissatisfied with the government