Scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have started a project that will allow Sikkim growers to earn additional income by cultivating Vitamin D-enriched shiitake. The shiitake is a mushroom native to East Asia, becoming increasingly popular in India.
Although shiitake is cultivated in north-east India at present, researchers at CSIR-IHBT have created a new technology that allows these mushrooms to grow in controlled lab conditions much faster. According to Rakshak Kumar Acharya, a microbiologist at IHBT, Palampur, the technology had been earlier transferred to a number of private companies in India.
Three food-processing cluster centres are being set up in Sikkim in collaboration with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Apart from facilities to grow the mushrooms, the centre will also have processing and packaging facilities. The government has allocated Rs 2.34 crore for each of the three cluster centres, and the foundation stone for the first centre was laid down on 29 January.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons