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Mushroom culture seminar draws overflow registrants

03 June 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

A seminar on mushroom- growing organised by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office has attracted a long list of registrants for two sessions  calendared for June 24 and 25.

As of May 27, when registration for the seminar was declared closed by Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre, at least 724 had listed up.

He admitted that he did not expect to attract such a big number of people to the seminar. “To tell you the truth, we didn’t expect such a huge interest. We thought we could just do it on the 16th floor for one batch. But now there are four batches already and there are still plenty of interested OFWs whom I have put on the waitlist,” De la Torre said.

Since many interested workers failed to make the cut, he said he is planning to turn the seminar into a quarterly event.

The four two-hour sessions start on Saturday, June 24, from 2pm to 4pm at the POLO annex on the 16th floor of Admiralty Centre Tower 1 with 156 people signed up.

The next day, there will be two sessions at the Boys and Girls Clubs Association at 3 Lockhart Road, Wanchai. The first session will be at 9am-11 am for the first batch of 186 registrants, and 11m-1pm for the second batch of 180. The third batch, with 204 registrants, will be  held at the POLO’s 16th floor annex at Admiralty Center.

The seminar will be conducted by officials of the Department of Agriculture who are coming to Hong Kong for provide the training to OFWs for free. De la Torre said the lead resource person will be Dr. Emily Soriano, an awarded researcher of the department.

He told The SUN he had thought of the mushroom culture project as he wants more overseas workers to turn to farming when they go home for good.

“I’ve always been interested in pushing the agriculture agenda among the OFW community. But the problem was always that farming for sustainable income required land,” De la Torre said. “So, the solution lay in mushroom farming, a healthy and sustainable product with a lot of market potential, which an OFW family can just raise in their backyard and earn extra income.”

De la Torre said it must be the commercial potential of mushroom culture that has drawn a lot of interest from the Filcom in Hong Kong. “I guess this is why it clicked so much – a farming platform that requires no wide expanse of land and yet would earn them income, and very easy technology, too,”  he said.

The species of mushroom for this type of farming is oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) a common edible mushroom sold in wet markets and supermarkets across Hong Kong. In the Philippines, however, this variety fetches a higher price than the ordinary mushrooms, and thus offer a potentially high source of income to growers.

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