Potential and Market Status of Mushrooms as
Abdul Latif1 , Zabta Khan Shinwari2 and Shaheen Begum3
Ethnobotany Project, WWF-P,
total area covered by forest in
Key Words: Non timber forest Products, Mushrooms, Potential, Market
forest products (NTFPs) refer to a wide array of economic or subsistence
materials that come from forests, excluding timber. Similar terms include
"non wood," "minor," "secondary,"
and "special" or "specialty" forest products. About 6000
species of higher plants are noted in various forms (Shinwari, 2002). 400
(7.8%) of these are endemic to
� Wild fruits and nuts
� Condiments and Spices
� Silk cocoons
� Ivory, skin, eggs etc
� Different animals and birds
� Vegetable tanning
� Bhabar grass
� Mazri leaves
� Walnut bark
� Chewing sticks
� Ornamental plants and flowers
� Seabuckthorn etc
In consideration of the greater dependence of the rural population on NTFPs, especially mushrooms, it is timely to review the current status of mushrooms and identify gaps where unsustainability lead to decrease in markets trends. The methodology for the project was based on three material collection methods, i.e.
� Literature Review
� Meetings with the stakeholders
� Personnel interviews/ observations
literature (books, journals, research papers and articles etc) about mushrooms
and NTFPs was reviewed. Sources of these literatures were Pakistan Forest
Institution (PFI), Weed Sciences Department, Agriculture University Peshawar,
variety of black mushrooms or morels are found in Pakistan, including (Morchella esculenta), Giant morels (M. crassipes), Round
head morels (M. vulgaris), white
morels (M. deliciosa),
Conocyba crispa, C. comatus, Cantharellus floccsus, M. conica, M. anqusticipt,
pine mushrooms (Boletus luteus), and other morels like Oyesters, padakis, lapoita,
polyporus, Ink cap, earthstar and meadow mushroom etc (Iqbal 1991, Rehman et al, 2000). Their local names are Guchi, Hasei, and Harerey etc., are common local names in various areas of
Morels grow naturally in the temperate forests of Pakistan,
including Dir, Chitral, Mingora and Kalam (Swat), Kohistan, Tirah, Kurram Agency,
Mansehra, Murree, Margalla Hills, Bagh and Chakoti (Azad Jamu &
Kashmir), Quetta, Zayarat and Zhob
(Baluchistan). The altitudinal limits for black mushrooms ranges from 1,800 to
3,000 meters above sea level (Rehman, et.
al. 2000). Some of the amount also comes from
Indigenous knowledge of the people
A forest dweller who finds mushrooms is often referred to by the local populace as "the luckiest person". Local people often hide the place from where they pluck mushrooms. An expert can collect mushrooms upto 8-10 kg in fresh form on his luckiest day, while normally upto one to two kg is collected. According to people, various mushrooms species have certain association with plant species. People recognize them through their various colors, like yellow, white, half-white, brown, blackish and dark brownish etc and different shapes. The local people also search these mushrooms under various tree species like apple, pears, Taxus baccata, Taxus wallichiana, Abis spindrow, Juglans regia, Pinus wallichiana etc.�
Number of People involved
About 289,000 forest dwellers, mainly children and women, are involved with collection and processing of morels in NWFP. Many people in local communities collect part time in addition to their regular jobs, such as grazing animals, collecting fodder and fuelwood etc. The role of women is really crucial in all the processes like collecting, cleaning and drying (Shah, 1991).
Level of Production
year, local people collect about 55 to 65 tons of dried morels, which equals to
the weight of 500 tones of fresh morels. More than 70% of mushrooms are
produced in NWFP (Iqbal, 1991). Some people are going for cultivation of
mushrooms in the areas of
Collection and Processing Methods
people (children 54%, women 24%, men 22% in NWFP)
collect them in fresh form from the forest (Iqbal, 1991). By traditional
methods, they keep for drying up to 2-3 days in sunlight and clean the dried
soil from stalk. Dried mushrooms are sold on barter trade basis or for money to
the near by local grocers. From the grocers dried mushrooms are sold to �Middle
Men� in to the main trading markets who supply mushrooms to main trading
centers like Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi etc or even directly export e.g. in
Mingora and Swat. They pack mushrooms in tea crates. In main trading centers, they
are well processed according to the demand of importer, which cost 90 to 110
rupees/Kg (Iqbal, 1993). Main trading companies like Umer and Haji trading companies in
The unit price of Morchella esculenta is Rs. 4000 to 4300 per kg at local grocers level while at middlemen level its price reached from Rs. 4000-4300 to Rs. 5000-5500 per kg (Adnan, 2002). Children sell fresh morels at a price of 600-650 per kg while the tail is sold at price of 1300-1350 per kg and mushroom dust is sold at 300-330 per kg. The prices for various morels ranges from Rs. 65-235 per kg.� The prices are varied throughout the season i.e. in start, middle and end of season. Price of Morchella esculenta in international market is $271 per kg. There was 60-70% increase in prices from 1991-2003 (Iqbal, 2002).
are normally exported to
Market Chain of mushrooms and other products
Marketing of various products exported from the country passes through various chains. Mainly four phases reviewed during the study. These are local collector level, middlemen level, local market levels and exporting level.
� Products are extracted by forest dwellers, which processed them through indigenous methods and sell the home based finished products to middlemen.
� Middlemen are normally the local shopkeeper or local traders. Shopkeepers buy the products and sell on local traders �BeyParian� in the main market. Local people also sell products on local traders, who visit regularly to the village or town.
� Local market level, are the main city/town markets, in which the local trader or middlemen sell the further processed product to the locally known �BeyParian�.
From the local market
these products goes to exporting markets. After further processing, they are
export. Main exporting countries are
From the review study, it was revealed that more than 60-65% is lost during the way to the local markets.
Figure 1 Market Chain and loss of Mushrooms
The main problems for mushrooms production and fluctuation are: lack of local people awareness about collection and processing techniques; lack of proper market knowledge and access; lack of interest of government for its cultivation in the suitable areas; and quality of morel which leads to lower prices in the market etc. Provision of proper attention to all these problems one can hope for better price and well being to forest dwellers.
Sixty-five percent loss of material during initial processing affects the sustainability of ecosystems, which affect the supply base. Involvement of 54% children in collection and processing of different mushrooms itself narrate the whole picture. The role of women during various processes of mushrooms preparation and marketing is neglected. They are deprived from their respected benefit. 70% decrease in export of mushrooms shows the unsustainable harvesting by the local people. Same situation exists with other NTFPs especially medicinal plants.
1. Equal share of benefits should be given to local people both men and women, through outs the process of product sell and trade, through proper market development and rules.
2. Training to the communities of product collection/utilization and marketing should be given for sustainable harvesting.
3. New markets has to be created for various products collected from the wild and cultivated, so that the community may be well benefited.
4. Various Govt. Institutions, mushrooms related industries and NGOs should go for new programs on marketing and certification of various products prepared for sustainable income as well as marketing.
5. Proper advertisement and marketing of various products like Mazri, morels, honey, Seabuckthorn, fruits etc not only at national but also at international level have to be done for more foreign exchange and local benefits.
6. Proper monitoring of trade and marketing should be done for consistency in supplies of the products and monopoly of few buyers should be avoided.
7. Domestication and cultivation of various products through ex-situ conservation and community management in the prone areas where products are decreasing in their quantities.
8. For proper conservation and sustainable utilization, rules and regulations at community level is to be implemented, with the help of dignities of community, so that both goal of economic development and ecosystem conservation has to be achieved.
9. Place in the international market has to be created for products prepared through improvement in the collection, drying, grading, packing and transporting, so that low production with better quality may yield better prices and benefits, while losses during these processes will pave the way towards sustainability of ecosystem.
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of Community Involvement in the Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants in
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of Pakistan, Export & re-exports.
FAO. 2001. How forests can reduce poverty. www.fao.org/publication/NWFPnews�
Iqbal, M. 1991. Non-timber forest products: their
income-generation potential for rural women in
Iqbal, M. 1993. International trade in
non-wood forest products. An overview. FAO.
Iqbal, M. 2002. NTFPs and land tenure and resource ownership: problems and opportunities. Research and Development, Forest Department, NWFP.
Z.S. Syed & N. Rehman.
2000. Mushroom Cultivation, An
Shah, R. 1991.
Report on mushroom production in
Shinwari, Z.K. & Shoukat M. 2002. Mid-Term Consultancy Report for NTFPs of