A MULTI-purpose cooperative founded in Pangasinan has expanded nationwide to promote its advocacy for increased mushroom production.
Buenaventura Abalos, chairman of the board of the Balikatan Multi-purpose Cooperative headquartered in Barangay San Angel, Rosales, said his group has branched out in other parts of the country.
The cooperative is set to build a P23-million mushroom processing plant in Rosales with at least P16.1 million of the cost coming from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the remaining 30 percent as equity of the cooperative.
The share from DA has been approved by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and is set to be released after the May elections.
The processing plant will have drying and canning facilities and a modern laboratory for the production of mushroom spawns that could be disseminated in various parts of the country.
Members of the cooperative currently produce oyster mushrooms that could be raised in a dry place in any part of the home, even the bedroom, using farm wastes such as hay, saw dust, and leaves of trees.
Abalos said the processing plant is expected to be the most modern mushroom processing plant in the country that will be able to supply the increasing demands for mushrooms in the local market.
“We will make the country self-sufficient in mushrooms first before going to the export market,” said Abalos.
He noted that the country is currently importing P2 billion worth of mushrooms from China and most of these are being sold in malls and supermarkets.