Success Story

The Mushroom Gram East guguldih panchayat Block : Gidhaur, Jamui, Bihar, India

Kewal, a small village in the district of Jamui, Bihar has 300 household which represents the perfect scenario of Rural India. Among those, one household is feather in the cap. A small household managed by Mohan P Kesari, which looks like simple facade at the first glance, but different from others at the same time. Seeds production, incubatory and cultivation is being done under the same roof. Mr. Kesari has brought the revolution which nobody ever thought about. Cultivating two types of mushroom, spreading awareness among others about Mushroom cultivation are the few but not all credentials of Kesari’s family.

Varsha (Case 1028), 18-years-old girl who is now ready to walk on her father’s footprints is the person which intrigues us the most. Currently the first-year student of Bachelor of Arts, she also helps her father along with her study. She also assists in household work and is doing great in her academia too. Unlike other 18-years-old girl, she is being oriented towards an independent lifestyle and becoming a person who contributes to society to her utmost capability. Varsha’s father’s income is sufficient to meet ends of both time but what makes her different is her inclination towards Mushroom cultivation. Before Mushroom farming, when Varsha was a kid, ChildFund India helped her and her family throughout. ChildFund India assured the sustainable development of girl at all life stages. Providing medical assistance in LS1 and providing an immense support towards her education in LS2 are few incidents where Child fund India kept supporting her.

Mr. Mohan P Kesari has studied up to second year of graduation but unavailability of resources and scarcity he could not pursue his education forward. He volunteered for Pulse Polio Campaign at KisanVikas Mela and played an important role to spread awareness among people about polio. In 2008, he worked as a hospital attendant also. The turning point in Mr. Kesari’s life came when he went to 30 days certified training of Mushroom Spawn production in PUSA, Samastipur and stayed there for six months as volunteer which helped him to transform his learning curve into an entirely different dimension. As Mr. Kesari was not able to complete his graduation, her daughter is well aware about the significance of education and with the support of Child fund India, she clearly wants to complete her studies and then would like to help his father in cultivating mushroom.

It all started when Mohan P Kesari went to Gandhi Maidan in Patna for an agricultural fair. There he saw a stall of mushrooms and got really curious about the same. He talked to the stall owners regarding the production and cultivation. Though he was hugely motivated and interested in the same but he lacked the funds and the technical expertise to go about the production. This was the time when Child Fund India intervened. He was sent to Pusa, Samastipur for mushroom spawn production training and the training was funded by Parivar Vikas. He also met the scientists from NABARD and Pusa during the Krishi Vigyan Mela organized at Parivar Vikas annually. He was gradually exposed to the outside world and was immensely supported by PVO. Though the training in PUSA lasted only for a month he purposefully stayed there for around six months to gain as much information and knowledge of the same. At the start of this journey he could not make enough profit as the transaction cost was fairly high .He also became the laughing stock of the town as people thought what he was doing was useless and he was just wasting his time and money, but the tables did turn after a couple of years when his hard work and support from PVO finally started to pay off. People began noticing him and his production gradually increased. Now rather than buying seeds from PUSA (which took him a day to travel and resulted in the spoilage of seeds) he started preparing seeds at his home. This not only decreased his transaction cost but also saved him a lot of time and effort. He started the preparation of seed at home. The equipment required for the same was provided by NABARD on a condition that Mr.Kesari free mushroom cultivation training to 500 farmers free of cost. Mr. Kesari outperformed their expectation by giving mushroom production training to 2500 (farmers free of cost).His perseverance and dedication did pay off really well as he was able to produce nearly 15 kilos of mushroom in a day.

His efforts were recognized throughout the Jamui district and his constant help to the farmers earned him quite a reputation and he was nominated for several awards. In recognition for his efforts in improving the farming standards and popularizing the mushroom cultivation he was awarded with the Prime Minister’s Award as well as other state awards from the Bihar Government. He is quite modest about his achievements but someday hopes to be able to raise the standards of the mushroom cultivation and be able to integrate button variety of mushroom which would enable him to produce for more than 8 months of the year. Mr .Keshari’s achievements have had a great influence on her daughter Varsha who hopes her father would someday receive the President’s award. Varsha has taken up the aspirations of her father and wants to take it up further under her wing.

In the beginning Mr. Keshari had a lot of financial difficulties but was ably supported in his venture by the SHG Group Kasturba Sangh Sahatya Group, a subsidiary of Parivar Vikash who provided him with a revolving fund of Rs.7000 and linked him to UCO Bank Ratanpur who gave him a further assistance of Rs.25000 and with the help of NABARD funding he was able to acquire machinery. His frequent interactions with farmers of the region earned him a great reputation and his work was the most significant in making Kewal popular as the Mushroom Gram (Village). His work ethics have rubbed off on Varsha who is determined to continue Mr Keshari’s work further.

As stated earlier the work of Mr. Keshari has enabled Kewal to be known as the Mushroom Gram. His work not only empowered him but the village as a whole. This is because of the training he gave the other farmers that now many of them in the village have taken up Mushroom Cultivation. His influence has been positive on everyone in the village and many in the village including his daughter Varsha look up to him as an inspiration. The impact of this has led many to look up for alternative farming and not just depend on conventional crops. Hence Mr. Keshari has not only influenced his family by his work but rather the entire village. His work has made the village recognizable throughout the country and not only state. For the immediate future Mr. Keshari wants to increase his productivity and also his current productivity lasts for a time frame of 4 months but he wants to increase it to around 8-10 months of the year so that he has greater profits and makes the mushrooms much more available for the market. He wants to bring in a newer variety of mushroom into his farming i.e. Button varieties as it is the more popular variety but difficult to produce. So in other words he wants to increase his produce even more and want to popularize mushroom cultivation and to earn greater profits by means of clever planning and use of technology.