Barangays, NGOs to benefit from mushroom propagation-A A +A
Thursday, July 12, 2012
A MAJORITY of Baguio’s barangays and even non-government organizations are expected to benefit from a mushroom propagation livelihood program introduced to village leaders here in City Hall last weekend.
The result of a partnership between the Office of Baguio Lone Congressional District Representative Bernardo Vergara and the Department of Agriculture regional office in the Cordillera under Regional Executive Director Marilyn Sta. Catalina, the said program is set to start off with a minimum of 40,000 fruiting bags of oyster mushrooms this month.
“We plan to start this with our city’s barangays, and afterwards, also include some NGOs who are interested in benefitting from this livelihood program,” Vergara said after the launching program at the City Hall multipurpose hall late last Friday afternoon.
He explained that since the 40,000 fruiting bags of the oyster mushrooms would already be enough to initially supply the needs of five barangay clusters managing a total of 100 mushroom houses constructed by his teams in areas selected by indigenous leaders to ensure productivity, “this livelihood initiative planned using cooperative principles, values and systems can build bridges and make a continuous path that would lead to reduced incidence of poverty” in Baguio.
It was explained that the oyster mushroom or Pleurotus, which is also called abalone or tree mushroom, looks, smells and tastes like oysters. With virtually no stalk, this mushroom's oyster-shaped caps usually grow in layers on dead deciduous wood like clusters of oysters, and its moist, hairless, fragrant, white to smoky-gray caps measure from two to eight inches wide.
Mostly found in both tropical and temperate climates throughout the world, most species of Pleurotus are white-rot fungi on hardwood trees, although some also decay on conifer wood.
Pointing out that since mushrooms grow anywhere, they could be harvested and marketed into a sustainable community enterprise.
Mushrooms also reportedly give maximum nutritional benefits because they have high protein, are fat-reducing and strengthen the human immune system, and can complement unbalanced diets.
Since the cultivation of mushrooms can be integrated into existing agricultural systems and is pro-nature or environmentally sound, they also break down agricultural wastes into organic fertilizer.
As an offshoot of this program, Vergara said that feeding programs can also be set up using mushroom floss as an extender of lugaw and champorado, and that mushroom nutri-snacks may also be made as an alternative to junk food in schools, offices and other establishments.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 12, 2012.