This project will provide 25 beneficiaries initially and 40 families in the first two years, with the necessary training, skills and assets to improve their livelihoods and help to support their families through mushroom farming.
Initially 25 targeted (going up to at least 40 families within 2 years with RLF in operation) mostly women headed households and families with disabled persons with monthly income of less than Rs. 20,000 increasing their monthly income by Rs. 20,000 – 25,000 by end of project, thereby realizing sustainable livelihoods. These families will be able to increase their savings considerably and realize higher levels of investment.
To establish yet another hub for development of the mushroom production industry in the Hambantota District in response to the prevailing increasing demand for the product there.
1. Availability of forty families especially women/ beneficiaries with skills and knowledge for efficient mushroom production
2. By end of project at least 25 – 30 beneficiaries / families with production capacity of 2500 – 3000 bags
3. Earning a supplementary monthly income of Rs.20,000 – 25,000 by 25 families by end of project thereby getting out of the poverty cycle
4. Twenty five Sustainable Livelihoods established with increased savings and enhanced investment
5. A new hub established for mushroom production industry in yet another area in Hambantota District taking advantage of the expanding market there
6. Market promotion campaigns latching on to the expanding market through new marketing outlets
7. An environment friendly industry in expansion mode, where sawdust waste is being utilized for a productive use in mushroom production
(1) Forty five families, especially women, are now available with skills and knowledge for efficient mushroom production and another had an unexpected misfortune and has dropped out of the project temporarily. One selected beneficiary died during implementation and both have recently been replaced with newcomers.
(2) Altogether 15 Women Headed Families and 09 families with disabled persons have already participated fully in the project to produce mushrooms and make a living out of it.
(3) Apparently there has been a noticeable shift in demand for mushrooms in that consumers appear to be expressing a clear preference for the abalone variety. In some markets oyster mushroom is still in demand. The Bedigama producers are following this shift and producing more abalone mushrooms. The abalone mushrooms have a longer period of productivity going upto 8-9 months and also a little longer shelf life than the oyster. Pricewise also the abalone has the edge on the oyster mushrooms. A 200g pack of oyster sells at around a Rs.60 while the abalone can be sold for Rs.80-85.
(4) By now thirty four families with a collective production capacity of 66,470 bags of mushrooms are already enthusiastically engaged in mushroom production
(5) By now all these families have been able to collectively earn a total supplementary income of Rs.2, 000,000.
(6) A solid foundation has been laid for establishing a new hub for the mushroom production industry in an entirely new area in the Hambantota District, the Weeraketiya Divisional Secretary’s area.
(7) The planned market promotion campaign has been successfully carried out, conducting cookery demonstrations at several weekly fairs in and around the project area. These cookery demonstrations have been able to introduce new recipes to eager prospective users of mushrooms and thereby further expand the market for mushrooms.
(8) Thirteen beneficiaries have already achieved a monthly supplementary income of Rs.20,000. One of them has been able to realize a monthly sales income of Rs.50,000
(9) They have realised a total value of sales upto Rs.2,000,000 by end of December, 2019. These sales are mostly effected individually, through direct sales, to nearby households, village retail outlets, small hotels in the vicinity, village fairs, and catering for village functions, especially religious almsgivings.
(10) By now the Gami Shakthi Sammelanaya has succeeded in establishing contact with a sales person who purchases oyster mushrooms for sale in the adjoining district of Matara. He pays Rs.220 per kg., coming to the producer, while direct sales can bring Rs.250 per kg. Expansion of production can without risk take place only with such external support.
(11) Altogether 19 beneficiaries have ploughed back some of their profits into their new venture, two persons having constructed three new permanent sheds, expanding their capacity while 17 have invested in additional bags for expanding production.
(12) Total repayments collected so far amount to Rs.174,250 which facilitated the payment of five loans to five new beneficiaries already trained. Total daily production amounts to 114 kg in all while this works out to 2850 kg of mushrooms for a month by now. Production has been somewhat adversely affected by the dry weather these producers had to go through in the past few months but it has now recovered the higher levels of productivity which is possible in normal weather.
(13) There is already one mushroom producer who has boldly started producing mushrooms without recourse to a loan from Gami Shakthi Sammelanaya in the project area.
(14) Twenty one beneficiaries have managed to reach a total monthly income of close upon Rs.25, 000 – 30,000. The balance thirteen odd beneficiaries are expected to pass the local poverty line within the next 6 months.
(15) The total income already earned collectively by all beneficiaries in the project up to now amount to over Rs.2,000,000.
(16) Already well over ten prospective beneficiaries have expressed willingness to join the project soon. There are more lined up for joining the production line in the coming months.
(17) Those lagging behind, 12 in all, need more help from the others to reach expected targets within the next 6 months.
(18) All the mushroom producers have been registered with the local Divisional Secretariat, through the good offices of local PHIs.
(19) Practically all the mushroom producers have been able to establish new and satisfying social relationships, contributing their mite to vibrant community development in the project locations.
(20) These producers have been able to utilize expert advice from the Mulana Centre Trainers cum Resource Persons, thereby keeping their new ventures afloat and flourishing.
(21) The Mulana Mushrooms Centre provided these producers with certified quality seed at affordable prices. Other inputs required also were provided by the Centre whenever required with a minimum hassle. It will continue providing all these services to the new producers thereby sustaining the project outcomes beyond the funding period. The NGOs / CBOs along with the District Consortium with the active backing of SLCDF personnel will also help in sustaining the project outcomes after project funds cease. The monthly monitoring meetings will continue regularly thereby expanding further experience sharing among producers in the project. The RLFs established and managed well by CBO / NGOs will help in large measure the sustenance of project outcomes beyond funding
(22) The services of the Mulana Centre expert will continue to be available on call to these producers whenever required may be on an affordable price which can be shared by the prospective users.
(23) They have also been given leadership training by NGO / CBO leaders and therefore will be able to take on active roles in community development in the project area.
(24) The following State agencies have come in search of project beneficiaries to assist them with additional resources / knowledge
– Southern Provincial Agriculture Ministry
– Provincial Department of Agriculture
– Provincial Agrarian Services Department
– Divisional Secretariat
Whenever the State officials come across a well implemented project they volunteer to lend their services to those new entrepreneurs.
All in all, it appears that a solid foundation for a new industry in a new hub has been laid through this project. The contribution from the two local NGOs / CBOs implementing the project to this achievement has been quite significant.