Mushroom cultivation needs supporting measures from the agricultural sector to expand when the demand for the fungi increased in foreign countries.

At a recent forum organised by the National Agricultural Extension Centre in Dong Thap province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Department's Cultivation Department said mushroom consumption has increased by 3.5 percent per year on average in the US, EU and Japan. Per capita consumption of mushrooms in these countries and regions is about 4-6 kilogram a year.

Mushroom cultivation in some Asian countries and territories, including the Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan, has been industrialised and become an important economic sector.

Vietnamese farmers now produce 16 kinds of mushrooms, including straw, button, oyster, wood ear and reishi.

Mushrooms are mainly cultivated in southern provinces including Dong Thap, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Can Tho city, Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Binh Phuoc.

The country produces about 250,000 tonnes of mushrooms a year, with more than half of that sold in domestic markets as fresh produce and earns about 25-30 million USD per year from exports.

With an abundance of mushroom growing materials, including straws, logs and enriched sawdust, which could reach 40 million tonnes per year, Vietnam had a great potential for developing the mushroom industry, heard the forum.

Current production did not match existing potential. Mushroom cultivation was still scattered and conducted mostly at the household level, which yielded low economic efficiency.

The number of mushroom processing firms and exporting companies remained modest.
The country plans to expand mushroom cultivation and produce about 1 million tonnes of mushrooms of all kinds by 2020, of which 500,000 tonnes will be for export.

The Government was suggested to provide tax incentives to enterprises involved in this production.
The establishment of concentrated mushroom cultivation areas and a close link between production and consumption should be established.

The use of hi-technology in production, preservation and processing need to apply and the building of a brand for Vietnamese mushroom in the world market was called for.-VNA