Bhutan’s Mushroom cultivation: A livelihood intervention blossoms into a productive partnership
One of the goals of Bhutan Scout Association (BSA) is to create good partnership with local communities while advancing Scouting in the country. What started as mushroom cultivation project at a community in Paro district, where members of Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) live with their families, blossomed into a productive partnership between Scouting and the local government.
How did this partnership start?
To begin with, BSA trained some members of the army to become Scout Leaders. These soldiers live at the RBA camp in Paro, southwest of Bhutan.
Realising the benefits of Scouting and the good it can do to their community, they gathered more than 100 young people to introduce Scouting.
As part of community-based Scouting, one of their activities is mushroom cultivation. The Scout group engaged other community members in the different stages of cultivation -- cutting straw, soaking in cold water, steam cooking, sowing seed and packing, staking and storage in plastic bags, watering and finally, harvesting. Shiitake mushroom’s market value is pricy, but now, families grow and enjoy their produce of all-organic and nutritious Shiitake.
They harvest every two weeks. One challenge in mushroom cultivation is temperature since keeping the mushrooms’ moisture is key to good harvest. During winter, heater is used to maintain the desired temperature.
This project has been going on for five years. Every year, Scout leaders set aside an amount from the net income to purchase Scouting items or to organize Scouting activities.
Col. Dasho Rinchen Norbu assures that they will take care of what BSA has entrusted to them while serving both as soldiers and Scout leaders.
Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/ScoutinginAPR/videos/1570432616346029/