Venturing into mushroom cultivation a blessing for ex-bank officer

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KUALA KRAI: Dedication to the soil brings just reward. That is the apt expression for a former bank officer whose venture into oyster mushroom cultivation during the movement control order (MCO) since March last year has brought him lucrative returns.

Mahadi Mohd Jusoh, 51, said he decided to resign in 2016 to take care of his mother Zaharah Ahmad, 70, who fell ill after his father Mohd Jusoh Mat, 81, died in the same year.

The father of four then opened a sundry shop near his house in Kampung Baru Pahi, here, to generate income and look after his mother at the same time.

“The sale was very encouraging initially but when the MCO was implemented last year my business started to deteriorate forcing me to think of other ways for my family’s survival,” he said when met at his mushroom shed in Kampung Baru Pahi recently.

He said after a friend suggested that he cultivated oyster mushrooms, he bought about 100 ready-to-fruit blocks of mushroom spawns which came with racks for the blocks, with a capital of RM2,000.

“Thank God, my first attempt bore fruit when I harvested 30 kilogrammes (kg) of oyster mushrooms which I gave away to neighbours for free.

“From there, I increased the number of fruiting blocks from time to time until 5,000 blocks were achieved and I plan to add 5,000 more blocks before the end of the year,” he said.

Mahadi said the two key elements for oyster mushroom cultivation are the dampness is not less than 80 per cent and the temperature does not exceed 30 degrees Celsius. The harvesting must be carried out when the mushrooms start to proliferate in the block followed by the process of packaging and delivery.

“The market demand for mushroom currently is also increasing because various downstream products linked to mushrooms such as mushroom chips, mushroom ‘popia’ and fried mushrooms are being produced.

“Each block can produce about 350 grammes and I can collect around 10 kg almost every day which I sell to middlemen at the nearest market at RM10 per kg,” said Mahadi to great delight. – Bernama

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