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5 People Who Switched Careers to Farming & Earn Lakhs Growing Mushrooms

In Indian agriculture industry, mushroom farming has emerged as a lucrative business. Here are stories of five agriprenuers who quit their conventional jobs to grow mushrooms.

5 People Who Switched Careers to Farming & Earn Lakhs Growing Mushrooms

In the ever-evolving landscape of Indian agriculture, mushrooms have emerged as an unexpected hero. The Better India has curated an inspiring list of individuals who dared to dream differently, quit their conventional jobs, and embraced mushroom farming. Now, these individuals are earning lakhs of rupees per annum.

1. Hiresha Verma

In 2013, moved by the Kedarnath flash floods, Hiresha Verma quit her IT job in Delhi to support the women affected in Uttarakhand. She chose mushroom farming due to the region’s favourable weather and invested Rs 2,000 to start experimenting at home.

After training and establishing Hanzen International, she invested Rs 80 lakh for advanced setups. Now, her farm produces 1,000 kg of mushrooms daily and makes Rs 1.5 crore annually. Her initiative has empowered over 2,000 women, increasing their incomes by 30% and improving their social status. She also founded Han Agrocare to retail their produce across India.

Techie turned mushroom farmer Hiresha Verma.
Techie turned mushroom farmer Hiresha Verma.

2. Shanker Meena

Shanker Meena was born into a farming family in Rajasthan and wanted to pursue the profession himself. However, his father wanted him to do a corporate job with an assured stable income. While he decided to pursue an MBA as per his family’s wishes, his heart was always set on farming. 

In 2012, he left his MBA midway and returned home. Moved by the hardships his father faced, he founded ‘Jeevan Mushroom’ in 2017. Shanker focused on mushroom spawns, investing Rs 9 lakh from a MUDRA loan, and took his family’s support to set up a lab.

His company now produces 80 tonnes of spawns monthly, generating Rs 13 lakh in revenue, and exports to Bhutan, Nepal, and the UAE. Despite challenges like a Rs 27-lakh loss due to contamination, Shanker’s dedication to quality and innovation has earned him multiple awards and kept his business thriving.

3. Nidhi Katare

In 2016, Professor Nidhi Katare’s world was turned upside down when the college she taught at was shut down. Devastated, instead of accepting offers from other colleges, she decided to try something new. 

She pursued her passion for farming and started a mushroom farming business. With her MSc in microbiology and teaching experience, Nidhi ventured into entrepreneurship, setting up ‘Natural Bio Impact and Research Pvt Ltd’ in 2017.

Despite initial challenges, including poor-quality spawns, she persevered, establishing a lab in her ancestral house. Today, she produces 1,000 kg of spawns monthly, selling to 150 farmers across different states. Nidhi’s innovative approach earns her Rs 1.5 lakh monthly.

Mushroom grown at Nidhi's farm.
Mushrooms grown at Nidhi’s farm.

4. Rohhaan Gawde

“Only the commonly available button variety is popular among customers in the market. But there are so many varieties of mushrooms that we can consume,” says Rohhaan. So when he attempted to introduce oyster mushrooms to people back in 2014, they questioned if they were even mushrooms. 

Working in the same industry, Rohhaan was forced to quit his job. He decided to start his own venture, The Mushroom Company, and grow mushrooms organically. Initially, he grew oyster mushrooms in Lonavala, about 150 km from Mumbai. 

Today, he operates three facilities in Pune, Nagpur, and Lonavala, cultivating a variety of mushrooms including the Shiitake, Grey, Pink and Blue Oyster, King Oyster, Ganoderma, Milky Mushrooms, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi.

Wild Oyster Mushroom.
Wild Oyster Mushroom.

On average, The Mushroom Company sells about 70 kg of mushrooms daily. The company earns a profit of Rs 1.5-2 lakh per month, with monthly revenues reaching up to Rs 4 lakh.

5. Adam Shamsudeen and Raeesa Manaal 

After working for several years as software engineers, Adam and Raeesa wanted to try something different. The couple shared a love for sustainable living which led them to grow mushrooms. 

As per an Open Digest article, their startup, ‘GrowtheFunguy’, is a “one-stop destination to help people grow mushrooms and make a living from it”. Currently, they have collaborated with over 300 farmers who grow different varieties of mushrooms and supply them.

“Their innovative approach has enabled them to offer services that include grow kits of different types of mushrooms, supplements, and nutrients to increase their yield. They also provide an AI-driven chatbot, FungAI, to answer all queries related to mushroom farming,” the article says.

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)

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