“My wife got pregnant when we were in high school. She was 20 at the time and our parents supported the pregnancy. But a month before delivery, her mother passed away. This made her very unhappy. She had issues during childbirth too. Once the baby was born, I’d wake up at 4 am to cook and then walk 15 km to school and back. My school was supportive and gave me leave whenever needed. But I couldn’t be there all the time and our baby got jaundice. We spent weeks at the hospital. After my board exams, I worked as a supervisor at a company till my results came out. I was accepted into JNEC but I couldn’t leave my wife alone in the village. So I gave up the idea of going to college.

Now, I am a mushroom entrepreneur. It was my wife’s idea. She’d taken agriculture in high school and seen people planting mushrooms. On hearing her idea, I looked for guidance but found none until we saw someone selling mushroom spawn on Facebook. I bought 7 packets of oyster mushroom spawn online and used what my wife had seen. We cut and soaked the straw, drained the water, sterilised, and dried the bundles. After incubating for a month, we harvested 20 kgs in that first round. We sold it for Nu.300 in my town which was half the price in T/phu. Slowly, more people started ordering. Hotels and restaurants started calling too.

I left my job to expand my business. I realised that we could make profit while also reducing meat consumption in the country. Imported mushrooms often use fertilisers so ours was a healthier alternative. I visited the Agriculture Research and Development Centre (ARDC) and got more mushroom spawn. I immediately went to the Dzong for loan sanction and BOB gave us the loan for a mushroom shelter. Since 2020, I have been supported by ARDC to make my own spawn.

Once, we’d lost all the blocks of mushroom spawn. Many leave the business after it doesn’t work out once, but it takes patience. We tell people honestly that we can make around 2 lakhs a year doing this. Growing mushrooms makes us very happy and we go into the shelter several times a day to check on the mushrooms and the progress, especially with all the hard work that goes into it.”

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories #Thimphu

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