Volvariella mushrooms become the main source of income for rubber tappers

Volvariella mushrooms become the main source of income for rubber tappers

KUALA NERANG: The uncertain rubber prices have prompted a rubber tapper from Kampung Musa here to venture into Volvariella mushroom cultivation or straw mushrooms since eight years ago, and it has now become his main source of income.

Ismail Ibrahim, 67, said compared to his income as a rubber tapper, which was around RM1,500 per month before, he is now able to generate returns of up to RM3,000 per month by selling these mushrooms, also known as oil palm mushrooms.

“I started cultivating these mushrooms in 2016 in my rubber plantation area to seek additional income due to the uncertain rubber prices at that time.
“This crop can be harvested in less than a month starting with the preparation of the planting medium using oil palm bunches as borders, followed by sowing seeds produced by myself,” he told Bernama here recently.

Ismail, who emerged as the Deputy Champion of the Agricultural Technology Innovation Award (Farmer Category) last year, said he took the initiative to plant Volvariella mushrooms after being introduced by the Padang Terap District Agriculture Department in 2015 as an alternative crop to generate income for small rubber farmers.

Able to harvest about 20 to 30 kilograms (kg) of yield per day, Ismail now cultivates the crop in six tents covering an area of approximately 464.5 square meters, which can produce at least 180 kg of Volvariella mushrooms for one crop cycle, namely three to four months.

“Now I have three tents and because of the fantastic yield, I plan to expand the planting area to increase production every season,” said Ismail, who stopped tapping rubber in 2019. Ismail also organizes Volvariella mushroom cultivation courses at the planting site in Kampung Musa.

“Although rubber prices are currently rising, tappers need to find alternative sources of income, including planting Volvariella mushrooms, because they can help if rubber prices fall in the future,” he said, receiving much assistance in terms of advisory services and equipment from the Agriculture Department.

Ismail said the demand for these mushrooms is very encouraging, with the market focused around Kuala Nerang and also having regular customers besides advertising them on Facebook. According to Ismail, besides being fried in flour, Volvariella mushrooms are also suitable for cooking soup or curry, and he is now taking steps to produce serunding (shredded meat floss) which is also in high demand.


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