Covid took away her job, mushroom farming changed her fortunes

Motihari, March 27 (IANS)
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Zainab Begum, a resident of Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district, fought against all odds with the Covid pandemic leaving her jobless with a financial burden and all…. But nothing could deter her, as she with very limited resources started mushroom farming and became financially independent. She is now helping other women to become empowered.
Zainab, who started mushroom farming on a small scale, is now also selling mushroom chocolates, papad and pickle.
It was not easy for the 25-year-old to do all that.
Four years ago, she moved to Patna, graduated and started working for an educational consultancy company. For sometime everything went well, Zainab’s husband was in the village looking after things and her father was running a business in Mumbai. But unfortunately, Zainab lost her job during the coronavirus lockdown and as she couldn’t find other employment, she had to return to her village.
Talking to IANS, Zainab said: “Carrying my infant daughter in my lap, I went to Patna, Muzaffarpur, searching for employment but in vain. During that period I was advised to do mushroom farming.”
Zainab did not have any knowledge about mushroom farming so she took to YouTube and started gathering information.
She also took tips from Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Samastipur and the Horticulture Mission. She then finally made up her mind to do mushroom farming.
She purchased 2 kg seeds of milky mushroom, and started farming with ten bags. Gradually, her business expanded and today she is farming with 1,000 bags and is also marketing it on her own.
The eldest of four sisters, Zainab says that she faced a lot of difficulties, her family members did not allow her to go out much, but now she is happy with the success of her endeavour.
“During the winter season, I employ a lot of people,” she says, adding that, “Besides now I am training many youths and women in mushroom farming.”
She says right now she is making all mushroom based products with her home resources as a huge amount of money is required for buying machines.
Zainab, who has bagged many awards at the district and state level under the Horticulture Mission, wants to expand her business so that she can provide employment to more people.
Currently, she has put forward a proposal for a loan from a bank.
She says that the mushroom chocolates made by her have a huge demand in the market. She has sold more than 10,000 chocolates but the branding and packaging of the product is yet to be done.
She adds that many girls in the area want to join the business. The villagers are also happy with her success and hard work.
Zainab says with pride that she started the business with only Rs 400, which has turned into a Rs 3 lakh business in two years.

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