Mushroom Development Foundation (MDF) is a not for profit citizen based organization started in 1994 in finding livelihood based solutions from agricultural waste and providing nutritional food security to the nation. It is registered in 1998, as a society under the Society Registration Act, 1860. It is also registered under 12 A and 80 G under the Income Tax Act.
The main objective of MDF is to innovate towards creating a social enterprise with the Farmer Producer Organizations and Entrepreneurs cooperating together in establishing a sustainable business by providing quality products at an affordable price to the consumers. MDF has been promoting mushroom cultivation for the last 23 years (1994 onwards) and scaled several milestones in livelihood generation. MDF also has won awards both in national and international levels.
Mushroom Development Foundation (MDF) seeks to enhance the lives of the farmers using mushroom as a tool both at the social and economic levels. The philosophy of MDF is to bring people together uniting them in solving health and wealth issues. So far MDF have covered 9 states, 4 countries in pro-bono learning and trained more than thirty five thousand people while sensitized more than three hundred thousand people. Few thousands of them have taken it up as a livelihood activity and about 600 of them has taken it up as small and micro enterprise.
MDF’s strategy in scaling up the mushroom production into the next level as an agro-based industry with better control of the small, marginal and medium scale producers for making it into a sustainable livelihood generation activity to hundreds of thousands of people we are taking up the following steps:
- Bringing in medium scale investment capacities partners along with the small, marginal and micro level producers.
- Implementing and developing proposals to raise investments with various funding agencies collaborating with the government, CSR from the corporate and international agencies.
- Developing demonstration units with various education and commercial institutions to generate awareness on both growing and consumption of mushrooms.
- Developing Livelihood Professional for replication and scaling.
- Integrating Livelihood activities for improving livelihood and health with our flagship program Eco-Friendly Integrated Livelihood Mission (E-FILM) creating a pool of human resources changing society for better.
Once Again: The objective of MDF is required to be clearly understood as nature and human well being using mushroom as a tool.
- As mushroom is a new entrance to the existing marketing system, thus scope of making it more farmer/producer friendly is much easier.
- Why Mushroom Can Change today’s Farming scenario:
- Mushroom grows in agriculture waste which is farmers owned raw material
- Mushroom grows in very little space, with limited water requirement and even land less/ blind/specially able people/women staying at home can take it up easily.
- Value addition of agricultural waste producing a food equivalent to animal protein which is vegetarian with no cholesterol its demand is catching up like wild fire as such scope to provide better income / negotiating power in the existing economic and marketing system by the farmers and producers is higher.
MDF resolves through innovation
In finding sustainability there are three major innovations that will aid in cutting down cost and optimizing scope for better control of their livelihood is given due emphasis in this project, namely:
A) Technology Innovation.
- Introduction of mixed species and strain propagation of mushroom ensures complimentary production in changing agro-climatic conditions in achieving year round production.
- Reduce working time and fuel cost by not boiling and disinfecting by using CaCo3 by pH balance in selected period of cultivation.
B) Structural Innovation
- Innovative mushroom growing house designed using low cost materials and ensuring year round production.
- Innovative low cost water soaking, boiling and composting units and humidifying techniques ensuring low cost year round production.
- Using low cost water sourcing mechanisms in solving water distribution in the production process even in absence of electricity.
C) Governance Innovation
- Introducing cost effective lab to land strategy in reaching out of the innovations and markets by developing the MDU.
- The Hub and Spoke Model in an innovation in linking the collection and distribution mechanism in the most cost effective manner.
- The production unit with a master trainer ensures value and supply chain development in the lowest possible cost in the long run.
- The supply chain and awareness campaign addressing cutting down of investment gestation period to about 30% of their produce from 60 days to 10 days. This is done by selling the mushroom almost 30% of the Mushroom compost bags to the consumers in the 10th day as mushroom growing bags.