Mushroom farming brings prosperity in Bac Ninh hinh anh 1Mushroom grower Luong Thi Bich Ngoc of the northern province of Bac Ninh is harvesting mushrooms.

Bac Ninh (VNS/VNA) - After investing 100 million VND (4,300 USD) to grow mushrooms in a 300 sq.m workshop in 2015, a family in the northern province of Bac Ninh earned 150 million VND a year later.

The profit made Luong Thi Kim Ngoc, born in 1989, and her husband, of Dong Cuu commune, Gia Binh district, more confident in their start-up choice.

But one winter day, they were astonished to see all of the mushrooms in their workshop had spoiled after a frigid night.

“Mushrooms grow well in hot weather with high humidity. However, at this time, our workshop was wrapped with nets only. Cold winds ruined all the mushroom germs,” Ngoc said.

“We were just so inexperienced,” she said, adding that they rushed to get money to fix the workshop so that it could meet Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice (VietGAP) standards.

Unlike conventional mushroom growing techniques, VietGAP requires farmers to follow strict requirements in every production stages, Ngoc said.

Growers have to use listed substances only, she said, adding that she prefered bioproducts for her mushrooms.

“When I first started growing mushrooms, I mixed straw and sawdust to make mushroom substrates. Then, I used cotton instead of straw,” she said.

“My husband and I were so happy to see our first mushroom batches. We brought the mushroom to offer to all the food stores in the neighbourhood,” Ngoc said, adding that the stores accepted the mushrooms.

“For the first year, we earned a profit of 150 million VND,” she said, noting that, since then, they have earned about 30 million VND monthly.

Graduating from Biotechnology Department of Thai Nguyen Agriculture and Forestry in 2012, Ngoc said she used to work for companies but returned to her hometown to grow mushrooms which helped her to satisfy her two passions – business and biotechnology.

Growing mushrooms depended much on the weather, so having a standard workshop played a key role in successful farming, Ngoc said.

She paid much attention to the workshop where she installed an automatic lighting system and a semi-automatic watering system so lights and humidity could be adjusted properly, creating favourable conditions for mushroom growth.

In 2018, Ngoc’s mushroom workshop was recognised as meeting VietGAP standards.

The Gia Binh district Women’s Union also helped Ngoc access a loan of 300 million VND to develop her start-up.

Ngoc invited seven people in her neighbourhood to form a cooperative. She taught other cooperative members farming techniques and found a market for their products.

With a stable market, Ngoc’s co-operative sells about a tonne of oyster mushrooms and 700kg of straw mushrooms monthly.

As her business has expanded, she offered regular jobs for three other people and seasonal jobs for two others. Each of them could earn on average 6 million VND monthly.

Dao Thi Chat, a farmer in Dong Cuu commune, said that thanks to Ngoc’s support, she now also grew mushroom in addition to rice.

Mushrooms help generate extra income for my family and improve our living conditions,” she said.

Tran Thi Hoa, chairwoman of the district Women’s Union, said that the union connected Ngọc and other local farmers who wanted to grow mushrooms.

Ngoc not only shared her experience and farming skills but also helped other mushroom growers sell their products, Hoa said, adding that the union has been supporting Ngọc to develop her own mushroom trademark./.