If you have been following eUttarakhand.com then you must have come across an article about ‘The Mushroom Woman of Uttarakhand’ Yes! I am talking about Hiresha Verma. But this time, there’s another young achiever of Uttarakhand who has proved her metal in mushroom farming and its none other than Divya Rawat. This young girl has become the talk of the town and has been praised by CM Harish Rawat for her commendable work. Not just this, to add a feather in her cap, the State Government has felicitated her with the Sanjivini Rattan award for Agri-entrepreneur.
Divya who hails from a tiny village of Chamoli, Uttarakhand has become the headlines of several tabloids and top notch websites who have written full-fledged articles praising Divya’s work in mushroom farming. But do you know behind all this name and fame there is an unheard story that nobody talks about? Divya has become a role model for all the youngsters who want to do something for the state and develop opportunities for its people. But her journey so far hasn’t been easy as she lost her father at the young age of 7. Having seen many ups and downs in her life, Divya not only completed her graduation from a prestigious college but was able to grab some handsome job offers from highly revered MNC’s, but her love for the locals and the penchant for the hills persuaded her to leave the lucrative job and move to Delhi for pursuing Masters in Social Work. By the time she received her post-graduation degree, she had dreams of soaring high and giving wings to the dreams of other people. Divya’s aim was to indulge in farming and being an advocate for Women Empowerment she wanted to uplift the women of the entire region. With little or no cash in hand, she came to Dehradun for learning about Mushroom business and finally started mushroom farming.
Having no family or friend support Divya went on a solo journey to flourish Mushroom farming in the state. Since nobody believed in her vision, she was constantly advised to return back to the corporate world as she may get nothing out of it. Initially, she started the business with a small investment of a few lakh rupees. Shaking the dirt off her shoulders, Divya followed her vision and prove everybody wrong as she not only tasted success but was able to give employment to many needy families. Now she proudly boasts about her quality mushrooms that she grows at Motherawala (Dehradun) and Chamoli. In an interview, Divya said, “Our output is 80 kg to 90 kg of button mushrooms per day and we want to explore newer varieties. Over the last one year, we have started cultivating milky mushroom (paalkoon), which grows the year round, and oyster mushroom (chippi koon), which is a seasonal crop and has many takers. These varieties are known for their delectable taste”. She further added, “In the aftermath of the 2013 disaster, I found several houses had been abandoned. I decided to use them to cultivate mushrooms”.
Being a cash crop, mushrooms are sold at higher prices than other crops. It can be grown in the terrains and have great demand in India as well as abroad. They are used in several expensive dishes and can be grown throughout the year in any type of weather. Mushrooms do not need much care and can be cultivated indoors in a relatively smaller area. In India, growing mushroom is super easy still, there are fewer farmers who grow such crops which means there is a huge demand and supply gap. Since mushroom farming does not require huge capital, one can start cultivating mushrooms in less than Rs 100, which will not be harsh on the pockets of the poor farmers.