STA. MARIA, Pangasinan, Philippines This agricultural town is now aggressively promoting imushroom production.
The municipal council issued an ordinance declaring Feb. 14-22, 2018 and every year thereafter as Mushroom Festival.
Councilor Rolando Dela Peña said Sta. Maria, being an agriculture-based community, intends to promote and introduce mushroom as its "one town one product (OTOP).
In an interview with The STAR, municipal agriculturist Reynaldo Segui Jr. said mushroom production would thrive in Sta. Maria citing the presence of the Mushroom Research and Development Center of the Pangasinan State University.
Situated on a 4,000-square meter lot, the center has a laboratory room where strains of cultured mushrooms are being produced and stored. It aims for sustainable production of high quality and adaptable strains of mushroom species accessible to farmers, students, researchers, development workers, entrepreneurs and other mushroom growers.
Segui said the local government unit of Sta. Maria also produces year-round mushroom spawns placed in fruiting bags.
When harvested, a kilo of edible mushrooms commands a farm gate price of P150 to P200 each.
The production is continuous and harvest is every five to seven days a week," he added.
"Our mushrooms here are purely organic," he said.
The town grows Pleurotus- oyster mushroom and Volvariella-button mushroom.
Production, however, is only good for consumption in 23 barangays, he said.
On Feb. 18, the municipal government will give one kilo of mushrooms to each group of participants from different schools for the cookfest.