MALAPPURAM: If things pan out as scripted, residents of GCC countries will soon get a taste of health with mushroom nutrient powder from Kerala. It will also be an ode to the prowess of the Kudumbashree members of Edakkara in Nilamboor.
Brought out by the Edakkara Agro Producer Co Ltd under the ageis of the Kudumbashree Edakkara Community, the mushroom powder is expected to hit the Gulf market soon. An initiative of 70 Kudumbashree members, the company set up a processing unit and has begun operations to bring out the product. It will be made from mushrooms cultivated by five Kudumbashree groups in various parts of Edakkara.
The group is looking to convert 25 kilos of mushroom into powder by grinding it after drying. On an average, 45 kg mushroom is produced daily in different units. “Only first quality mushrooms will be used for powder production,” Naseema P of the collective told Express.
Mixed with nutrient-rich jowar and njavara rice, the nutrimix powder will be available in 400 gm bottles costing Rs 200.
Out of 70 members, 12 have completed training in mushroom farming and powder making from the College of Agriculture at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bengaluru and the Directorate of Mushroom Research run by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at Solan in Himachal Pradesh. Naseema said the product had received the certification from the Food Safety authorities. Initially, 2,000 packets will be produced.
The number will be increased to meet the market demand. The collective is eyeing the expatriate community across the GCC. “We can easily find a market among the Keralite community in these countries in the initial phase. Later, it will gain popularity among all,” said the company’s chief executive officer R S Jayakumaran Nair.
“Mushroom is a healthy food. Its value-added products can easily find a place in the local and international markets,” said Malappuram Industries Centre manager K T Abdul Majeed. The Malappuram district panchayat had issued a grant of Rs 12 lakh to help the collective set up the processing unit.
Kudumbashree executive director S Harikishore is all praise for the initiative. “Kudumbashree is looking to help its members tap the potential of the market,” he said. “The women’s empowerment programme will develop its own mechanism to help members market their products,” he said.
Led by district panchayat member Sareena Mohammed, the collective is now running various initiatives, ranging from steamed puttu powder production to goat farming. Last year, the total turnout of the group stood at Rs 75 lakh.