Fungal Biodiversity Assessment Livelihood Generation
Balipara Foundation has launched a study on the Mushroom diversity of the North-East of India. The North- Eastern part of India is endowed with an incredibly diverse Bio-Cultural heritage. Mushrooms form an important part of this heritage, but we know very little about them. In neighbouring countries such as China, Thailand & Vietnam, Mushrooms form a staple part of the diet and contribute to a large portion of protein content required for normal growth and development. At the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics TM Forum, 2017, we launched a book on the Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India and now, through this study we intend to understand the Wild Mushroom Landscape in this part of the world. Towards this, we have commissioned the following people: Steve Axford; an ABC Features Reporter & Videographer, Catherine Marciniak; and a soil ecologist & mycologist, Peter Mortimer. In the past, we have successfully piloted a mushroom cultivation project at the Hatikuli Tea Estate and are taking that further by involving the abovementioned experts in the following stages of the project:
a) Assessing the Mushroom Biodiversity in the North-East of India;
b) Create a Seminal book documenting and categorising the Mushrooms of the area;
c) Scientific research to assist in the cultivation of these Mushrooms;
d) Passing this knowledge to the local communities to prevent malnutrition & ensure food-security
We have initiated phase (a) and (b) of this project and a proposal has been prepared. We are in conversation with local partners to collaborate with us for this study. We are certain that the livelihood generation potential of this project will attract a downstream value chain enhancing social infrastructure services such as healthcare & education and that this will serve as a model for other non-invasive revenue generating activities leading to social & economic mobility of the forest-fringe communities.
Photo Credit: Saurav Malhotra