PMNH Holds 2-Day National Mushroom Festival

Agri wastes can be utilized for mushroom cultivation, say experts

“Agricultural waste of wheat straw, rice straw and husk, cotton, sugarcane and banana etc can be utilized to grow delicious and medicinal mushrooms in different parts of the country. Mushroom cultivation can become a profitable cottage industry that will generate many employment opportunities and it will also be a good source to enhance soil fertility and production of organic fertilizer by decomposed waste,” said the scientists during the two days National Mushroom Festival and “Mushrooms: hunting, cultivation and cooking workshop” at Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) Islamabad.

PMNH in collaboration with Agri. Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan, Faisalabad, Agri. Education Pakistan and The Weekly Veterinary News & Views, Faisalabad organized the Festival and Workshop on April 10-11, 2016. PMNH Botanical Sciences Division is engaged in collection, identification, preservation and education of lower and higher plants of Pakistan. Mushrooms occupy a fundamental position among the lower plants on earth. In the past decades, mushroom growing was ignored in different areas of Pakistan. But recently it is frequently grown in many areas of Pakistan, having natural high humidity and low temperature. These areas are suitable for growing white button, Oyster, highly medicinal Gen.oderma and Morchella mushrooms and many more.

The workshop was designed to practically hunt mushrooms at Ghorra Gali area and sessions at PMNH to educate the participants through informal ways. In technical sessions Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Shaikh (Professor University of Hazara Mirpur), Dr. Kishwer Sultana (Retired Sr. Curator PMNH), Mr. Akhlaq Khan (Mushroom expert), Mr. Tariq Tanveer (CEO, ATDC) and Dr. Shehzad Basra (UAF) shared the research work with participants. Mushroom cooking competition and mushroom pickle stall were also part of the Festival to familiarize the participants with mushrooms.

Dr. Muhammad Akram Shaikh, Member Science, Pakistan Science Foundation was Chief Guest of the event. He appreciated the organizing team for their efforts to make the event successful and expressed his desire to keep the National Mushroom Festival as an iconic event of the Museum as an annual activity.

During the inaugural ceremony of the event, DG PMNH Dr. M.K Leghari welcomed the Chief Guests and other participants and Dr. Muhammad Ismail (Associate Curator) briefed about aims and objectives of the workshop. Dr. Ismail (Associate Curator Mycology), the chief organizer of the event, expressed his thanks for keen interest of the PSF and PMNH authorities and providing such an awesome family entertaining and educational opportunity. At the end of the event the Chief Guest and the D.G. PMNH presented souvenirs to the guest speakers and the heads of the co-organizing institutions.

PSF Member Science Dr. Muhammad Akram Sheikh presides over inaugural session of 2-day National Mushroom Festival and “Mushrooms: hunting, cultivation and cooking workshop” at Pakistan Museum of Natural History on April 10, 2016.

Women take part in mushroom cooking competition during National Mushroom Festival at Pakistan Museum of Natural History on April 10, 2016.

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