Pangasinan coop pushing mushroom production nationwide
DAGUPAN CITY, Feb. 10 (PNA) — A multi-purpose cooperative founded in Pangasinan is pushing for increased mushroom production nationwide to ensure sufficiency of this product and enable the country to save on foreign exchange.
Buenaventura Abalos, chairman of the board of the Balikatan Multi-Purpose Cooperative with head office in Barangay San Angel, Rosales in Pangasinan, said his group has now members as far as some areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Abalos said the cooperative is set to build a P23-million mushroom processing plant in Rosales and expects the Department of Agriculture to provide 70 percent of the cost at P16.1 million.
The rest of the cost at P6.9 million or 30 percent will be bankrolled by the cooperative as its equity.
Abalos said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has already approved the project which is expected to be realized shortly if not after the election.
He said in order to achieve food sufficiency in mushroom, the country must have a modern mushroom processing plant.
The plant will have among others such as drying facilities as well as for canning and a modern laboratory for the production of mushroom spawns.
The spawns would be disseminated in various parts of the country to drum up interest of Filipino households in mushroom raising.
Initially, members of the Balikatan multi-purpose cooperative produces oyster mushrooms that could be raised in a dry place in any part of the home, using only farm wastes such as hay, saw dust, leaves of trees and others.
He said the processing plant is expected to be the most modern mushroom processing plant throughout the country that will supply the increasing demands for mushrooms of the Filipinos.
“We will make the country self-sufficient in mushrooms in a few years so that we will no longer depend on imported mushrooms,” said Abalos, noting that the canned mushrooms being sold in malls and supermarkets are coming from China.
Statistics shows that to date, the country is importing P2 billion worth of mushrooms from China when in fact the Filipinos, by working together in their spare times, can produce their own mushrooms, he added.
Abalos and members of his cooperative are now also conducting seminars and training on mushroom culture in various parts of the country in their bid to transfer technology to as many households in urban and rural areas.
“We must empower the Filipino households so that they can produce their own food at home,” Abalos said.
At the same, Abalos thanked four congressmen in the country for pledging funds to boost the mushroom raising projects of their respective constituents.
These include Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil of the second district of Pangasinan and Rep. Bernardo Vergara of Baguio who committed P300,000 each; Rep. Arturo Robes of San Jose del Monte City, P1 million; and Maximo Dalog of Mt. Province, P2.2 million.
This financial help are a big boon to achieve mushroom sufficiency throughout the country, Abalos said. (PNA)