Mushrooms is Her Mainstay

G.H. Anusha Kumudini married to Karunasena Abeygunawardena with their three daughters, all schooling, hails from Angunakolapelessa in the Hambantota District. The family has come into residence there around 10 years back after buying some land in the area. She is an active member of the Angunakolapelessa Prajamula Sanvidanaya and has been involved in various self-employment activities in her village, making joss sticks as a domestic small industry and also turning out soap for village use in addition to sewing clothes for local sale.
After hearing about the Mushroom Training Centre located close by run by Mr. Sunil Rajapaksa, she participated in their training programmes where she obtained skills and knowledge required for Mushroom production. To start with, Anusha put up a 10’ x 20’ temporary hut to house the production unit. She has managed to produce mushrooms with a capacity of 2000 pots, whereby she derives a monthly income of Rs.20,000, after one year of production. She has come to stay with mushroom production as her mainstay as she has found this to be the most satisfying while been the most remunerative as well of her self-employment projects.
The first call on her new income avenue is expenditure on the children’s education. Any balance goes on to defray some of her daily household expenses.
There is a bold board displayed in front of her house saying ‘Mushrooms for Sale’. Those from the vicinity call over regularly to purchase the mushrooms produced. Any production over and above these sales, she finds a ready market at the village “Pola”, rural market in addition to meeting a regular order from a nearby small hotel.
With the new income Anusha hopes to re-roof the production hut with corrugated sheets, to improve its stability and to enhance the current capacity of production in the near future. Her husband’s income is used to repay their housing loan.
In addition to all these activities, the family has grown perennials such as coconut, mango and pepper on their land, while also growing vegetables such as chillies, snake gourd, bitter gourd, and beans, which mostly are used for their own consumption.
Anusha has highlighted the potential in mushroom production in unleashing energies of homebound underemployed rural women for making a success of their self-employment ventures.