Gramin Vikas Trust: Alleviating Livelihoods with Mushroom Cultivation

By auther pic. Shilpa Tiwari

March 23, 2021

Gramin Vikas Trust: Alleviating Livelihoods with Mushroom Cultivation


Sustainable methods of mushroom farming were carried out to improve the livelihood of marginalized women across five villages of Devpur, Darri, Achhota, Bhayna, and Nudpar since 2018. This progress was made possible in the lives of marginalized women with the help of Gramin Vikas Trust [GVT], a nonprofit development organization supported by Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (KRIBHCO), Department of Fertilizers, GOI and DFID (UK). 186 women worked together for an internal farming process in 30 Self Help Groups (SHGs) that provided extra income to their families as a result of an uninterrupted process of Oyster Mushroom Cultivation. 


Gramin Vikas Trust noticed a problem of dipping incomes of the village women and planned to alleviate their living standards by intervening with livelihood programme. As a result, it associated with HDFC Bank under the HRDP project and decided to double-up the income by introducing different technologies in the farm sector. By connecting the experience into the enterprise with the support of the SHG of women and Farmers Producer Organizations (FPO), the results proved encouraging. It led the project to not only address their food security issues but also to improve their food quality and the standard of living by adopting the productive use of farm products especially seed, vermi-composting, horticulture development, Onion farming, Oyster Mushroom farming, and Button Mushrooms farming. Currently, the button Mushroom is in the cashing stage and it is ready to be the 1st harvest by 31st March of 2021.


GVT works with tribal and marginalized communities with interventions in over 3900 villages in 94 districts in 24 states.  The project’s purpose is to generate sustainable increases in the income of villagers in the project areas through improved agriculture and allied activities alongside entrepreneurship development through active participation and community management. Since Mushroom Production is an alternative source of income for farmers. GVT introduced Oyster Mushroom production in the year 2018 – 2019. Currently, these women involved with Oyster Mushroom Cultivation have produced 2500 beds at the household level by availing internal lending from their SHGs. 


Self Help Groups help the marginalized women workers in a big way


Initially, they did it in Groups with training support from the HDFC CSR project under the HRDP program in 10 villages namely- Sarangpuri, Sakarwara, Achhota, Bhoyna, Devpur, Bhothali, Banjari, Darri, Kalartarai, Mudpar with 34 SHGs. 318 women were involved directly and have received Rs.150-200/kg by selling fresh Oyster Mushroom. Annually, they had an extra income of about Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000 from the oyster mushrooms. Currently, the production activity earns for each family an extra income of about Rs. 10,000/- to 20,000/- per year after their home consumption.  The five villages under the project led by GVT are really well connected to the State highway with many hotels, dhabas, daily needs market and weekly markets at a distance of about 5 to 15 kms from Dhamtari District headquarters. They are also placed at a good outreach of marketing of products and raw materials.


Compost-making underway

The whole process of mushroom production is divided into four simple steps which begins with compost preparation. The women farmers are trained on how to go organic right from the first step of preparing of the soil. Total 100 farmers in groups of two, set to preparing compost together, since turning or spooning of the compost pile for 8 turning days is heavy labor work. After compost preparation, they equally divide the prepared compost and use it for spawning and cultivation in their individual cropping house. In this group process of composting the labor cost is reduced. This is followed by spawning, then spawn running,casing, and finally fruiting.


Cashing of Button Mushrooms


GVT promoted Button Mushroom farming after observing the capacity and skills of the women. Moreover, Button Mushroom Farming was chosen for a better monetary gain for the women. GVT developed a business model with the women groups of 5 villages: Achhota, Bhoyna, Bhothali, Darri, and Sarangpuri with 25 SHGs having a total of 100 women. Button Mushroom has more demand in the market than other mushrooms due to its taste. Sustainability is always the priority for GVT, this is why for the sustainability of the Button Mushroom farming, GVT is in the process to register two farmers producer groups in the operational villages of HRDP. The FPO will take over the charge to enhance its business volume. It will also support marketing in the long run with a joint brand name of - the FPO, HDFC Bank, and GVT.  The button mushroom farmers will be the members of the respective FPO. 


Button Mushrooms produced in Bothali Village


Gramin Vikas Trust (GVT) has been awarded for implementing the project Parivartan under Holistic Rural Development Programme for the period of 2018 to 2021 with the financial support of HDFC CSR funds under project Parivartan in 10 villages of Dhamtari block of Dhamtari district with 15608 population. The major component of the Project is Institutional development, Education, Income Generation, Agriculture Development, Livestock development, Infrastructure development, Water Resource Development, Health and Sanitation, Woman Development, Adaptations of low-cost technology, and business development through farming and strengthening Farmers Producer Organizations. Gramin Vikas Trust resolves to provide community-based solutions by empowering the underprivileged women, children, elderly, and physically challenged individuals.



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Shilpa Tiwari is a New Delhi based Content Specialist with three decades of experience. She has worked extensively on a variety of researches and curricula across K12, Higher Education, Corporate and Social Development sectors. A Master’s degree in English Literature and a degree in French from Delhi University, alongwith International Business Programme from IIFT, most certainly provides Shilpa an added expertise to work as a Consultant on various research and consulting projects with Corporates, Educational Institutions, Publications, CSR Foundations and NGOs.


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