24 October 2017, Thimphu: The Japanese expert, Dr. Watanabe, and the Australian Volunteer/Plant Pathologist, Dr. Naomi Diplock attached with the National Mushroom Centre (NMC) conducted a three-day training program on mushroom spawn production techniques for private individuals and staff from ARDC from 17 to 19 April 2017 in collaboration with the NMC.
At the moment mushroom spawn is being produced and distributed by NMC and the other mushroom units under ARDC. However these centres are not able to meet the growing demand from the mushroom growers due to high demand and dwindling budget. Moreover the growers are located in different parts of the country and their remoteness makes delivery of mushroom spawn difficult. Mushroom spawn also get damaged during transport since the refrigerated vehicles and cold storage facilities is not readily available. Due to the increasing demand it is felt that commercialising mushroom spawn production is also viable if the producers are adequately trained.
After the initial briefing by the Program Director, the trainees were provided with practical sessions on laboratory Standard of Procedure (SOP) and mushroom spawn production in different media (Potato destrose agar (PDA), grain and saw dust). These media were produced in-situ to keep the cost of mushroom spawn low.
Since contamination with competitive fungi and bacteria is detrimental to the success in mushroom spawn production, particular emphasis was given on sanitation (from clothes, washing hands, changing of dress before entering the lab and while working in the lab).
Based on their performance it is assumed that they have gained valuable skills to produce quality mushroom spawn.
Although NMC has been conducting such trainings in the past it was felt necessary to provide training by professional/experts from outside in order to improve the capacity of the both private spawn producers, mushroom focal staff in the region and at NMC. The trainees were divided into three groups.
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