When her children left home for higher education, homemaker Rekha Kumari decided to utilise her free time to explore entrepreneurship through a mushroom business.

“I had a lot of free time and wanted to beat the boredom, but productively. I read about the scope of mushroom cultivation in the newspaper. What attracted me the most was the convenience of growing them at home itself,” says Rekha.

Starting with Rs 1,000 in 2013, today the Bihar resident earns Rs 3 to 4 lakh a year with her mushroom farming business that flourished within a few years.

She grows various seasonal mushroom varieties throughout the year under her registered venture Anand Jyoti Mushroom Utpadan Kendra.

However, she also experienced several losses in the beginning due to a lack of knowledge. In 2018, she took training from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Sipaya, and Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University Pusa, Samastipur.

“After receiving proper training, there was no turning back. I became more confident to explore and expand the business further,” she says.

The 51-year-old grows oyster, button, milky button, shiitake, hericium, and paddy straw mushrooms in six rooms of her house.

With guidance from the officials of KVK and the agricultural university, she experimented with selling value-added mushroom products to increase the shelf life of the produce.

“Over the years, I learnt to make different value-added products like mushroom powder, pickles, biscuits, samosas, namkeen, ladoos, and so on,” she says.

“In the initial years, I had to depend on my husband to invest in my business. But now I have been able to make a steady income and earn well,” she says.

Using her learnings about mushroom farming over the years, Rekha says she has also trained at least 1,000 people.

She has conducted free online classes to train people from different parts of the country like Madhya Pradesh, Kashmir, Andaman, and Mumbai. She also conducts paid training classes every month at home.

For more details, you can contact Rekha Kumari at 7667594296.