“Nepal’s climate is perfect to grow mushrooms, however, the amount that we do produce do not match our potential” shares Shanis Lageju, co-founder of SeedLand Nepal. He further explains that with his company SeedLand Nepal he hopes to change this. SeedLand Nepal produces Button, Ganadorma, Milky White, Oyster and Shitake mushroom spawns and Button and Oyster mushroom.
“I was always interested in agriculture, and wanted to study agricultural science, but could not. However, a nine-month Social Service training that I was taking inspired me to start mushroom farming. The training had a week-long course on agriculture and there was one class of mushroom farming. This class made me realise that there was a good scope for mushroom farming in Nepal” reveals Shanis. Coming from a family with an agricultural background, Shanis felt that not only did he have everything needed at home, but it would also be a good income source.
It may have been easy for Shanis to start mushroom farming but finding a market for mushroom in 1998 was a different matter. “In the beginning, we sold mushrooms in packets in front of Khichapokhari and Singha Durbar. But it was difficult to get people to buy it since a lot of them were under the misconception that mushrooms were not good for them. We had to eat the mushrooms in front of them to show that they were edible. But, now there is so much demand for mushrooms that it has to be imported to Nepal!” As he was increasing his mushroom production, Shanis came across another problem – lack of good mushroom spawns. “Mushroom spawns were not easy to get, and the spawns that you did get were of poor quality. This made me think of producing mushroom spawns myself. However, there wasn’t anyone in Nepal that could train you on mushroom spawn production.” Shanis went to India and for a week-long training organized by IFFCO Company in India on Modern Agriculture Technique, and started producing mushroom spawns. Demand and interest in the spawns that he was producing led him to start selling mushroom spawns as well. “We make mushroom spawns using liquid culture, so we produce better quality spawns that have a higher yield,“ and now according to Sharis, SeedLand Nepal sells mushroom spawns in all of Nepal’s seven provinces.
Apart from producing mushroom spawns and mushrooms SeedLand Nepal also gives mushroom farming training. “We wither train people who are interested in mushroom farming at or farms, or we give mushroom farming training in collaboration with co-operatives. Till date, we have trained more than 1,000 people in mushroom farming.”
With the investment, Shanis aims to make SeedLand Nepal not just the place for high-quality mushroom spawns but also the place to go for all things that are needed for mushroom farming. They are also planning to upgrade their farm to a high-tech demo farm with a temperature controller and water supply so that they can produce mushroom, all year round. They also aim to increase their mushroom spawn production capacity.