By Alexander Villafania
ANTIPOLO CITY, RIZAL – Because of the temperate and humid climate, the Philippines is an ideal country for edible mushrooms which grow all year round. This means mushroom farming has a lot of potential and can even be considered a revenue-generating industry.
Incidentally, the Philippines still has a long way to go when it comes to exporting. In 2006, Dr. Renato Reyes of the Department of Science and Technology said the Philippines has no major mushroom exporting industry as barely 600 metric tons of mushroom is produced every year, way behind Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
The demand for mushroom worldwide remains strong as these are consumed as healthy alternatives to meat. They have been used for both gastronomic and health purposes for thousands of years. While not exactly plants (mushrooms are actually fungus) they are classified as agricultural products.
Edible mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms are good sources of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They can also be processed for medicinal purposes. More information can be garnered about the health benefits of mushrooms here.
For those interested in using mushrooms for certain recipes, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) has a nifty section in its website for cooking mushrooms. It also includes tips in handling freshly harvested mushrooms.
It’s not yet too late for the Philipppines to become a major player in the mushroom industry. In fact, mushroom farming can be more of a collective effort by backyard growers. There are lots of information on the Internet about farming mushrooms. It’s also a simple process as it only requires a small space.
The Department of Agriculture has basic information about putting up a small backyard mushroom farm. Meanwhile, the local business website EntrePinoys Atbp has a more expanded mushroom process, which also includes caring and harvesting.
There are also training sessions offered by some mushroom farmers. One of the most regular is the Aani Herbal Garden at the Quezon Memotial Circle in Quezon City. They can be contacted at telephone number +632497-2755 and mobile numbers +639099343049 and +639278099701.
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