What started as a hobby during the Covid-19 pandemic has now evolved as a business in oyster mushroom cultivation for this young seaman from Carmona village.
Just two years after undergoing training in mushroom cultivation at the Don Bosco Igrajemol-Quepem during the Covid pandemic, Sanford D’Costa is reaping the fruit of his hard labour in oyster mushroom cultivation. Today, Sanford is no longer sailing on the ship, but is busy pre-occupied in taking pre-orders for oyster mushrooms and sending the product door-to-door in the village and outside.
“Hard work always pays,” remarked Sanford as he sent out a message to the youth to use their time in a productive manner. “I am a seaman by profession. During the pandemic, life became uncertain with unemployment being the order of the day. It was at this juncture that I decided to try oyster mushroom cultivation as a hobby. And, it has turned into a successful venture last year and this year. People know that I am into mushroom cultivation and they place their orders,” he said.
He added: “People go for oyster mushrooms as they are not only delicious, but have nutritional value. In fact, oyster mushroom is a substitute for meat. When it is cooked as a gravy item, it is meaty, you feel like consuming meat. It’s rare to find oyster mushroom, which comes in three varieties, Florida white, pink and grey. A kilogram of oyster mushroom fetches Rs 600 in the market.”
Sanford has set up mushroom cultivation in a one-room space at his residence. “There’s a process involved in mushroom cultivation. The process looks simple, but it involves hard work, where one has to go to the fields to fetch grass, dry and cut the same before it is boiled to make it organic. There’s a period of incubation. Water needs to be sprayed to maintain the moisture level,” he said.
He added: “One should not be ashamed to do any job. Instead of remaining idle, one should put the time to productive use. What had started as a hobby two years ago during the pandemic has now turned out to be a successful business.”