Mushroom millionaires and Sargasheshi

Two brothers who became mushroom millionaires in their 20s, a Kerala store completely run by women with Down syndrome, the award-winning artisan behind modern straw craft and ways to sell organic produce without going to mandis are part of this newsletter

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Mushroom millionaires and Sargasheshi

Mushroom millionaires and Sargasheshi

Dear Reader,

Do you enjoy eating mushrooms? I do. While farmers in India now grow many varieties including shiitake, oyster, paddy straw and button mushrooms, my favourite is the button mushroom for its earthy flavour which intensifies after cooking.  

Mushrooms are rich in nutrients, and medicinal properties and are considered a superfood. That’s why their demand in India is growing at around 8 percent annually. Realising this, two brothers in Agra zeroed in on mushroom cultivation during the lockdown.

Rishabh Gupta, a computer science engineer, quit his job in Dubai in 2020 and started mushroom farming in his hometown Agra in 2021. His brother Ayush joined him after completing his BBA from the London University and the duo now sells around 1600 kg of mushroom daily, earning Rs 7.5 crore annually.

Their daily profit is Rs70,000, Rishabh told me. The duo use cold chamber technology for mushroom farming, which gives yield throughout the year, unlike seasonal cultivation. Do read their story.

From Kerala, my colleague Chandhini wrote a heart-warming story on Sargasheshi, a handicraft store that promotes inclusivity by providing job opportunities to women with Down syndrome. Jointly set up by ULCCS and DOTS, it is India's first-of-its-kind social venture focusing on mainstreaming women with the condition.

From opening the store in the morning to arranging the articles on respective shelves, ensuring cleanliness and keeping a tab on the stock, the store is fully managed by Anjali, Anjana, Anushree and Teena Mariyam Thomas. Sargasheshi shows how training and encouragement can help in mainstreaming differently-abled individuals.

Niroj, my colleague from Odisha, spoke to Pradeepta Kumar Nayak, who has created a modern straw craft using paddy waste. Seeing the high amount of waste after paddy harvesting in his village, Pradeepta began creating art pieces from them in 1989. The eco-friendly craft has gained national recognition and popularity and has given birth to some award-winning artisans.

Organic farm produce commands higher-than-market rates as people are willing to pay more for chemical-free products. However, organic farmers need to find markets other than traditional mandis to get that premium pricing. My colleague Riya has put together seven ways for farmers to sell organic produce without going to mandis. Our readers who are farming enthusiasts should not miss this one.

Our Sunday story is on Tamil Nadu’s Pichavaram, where you can cruise through mangrove trees and enjoy nature.

In the money section, my colleague Karan has written about the best options for fixed deposits (FDs) right now as interest rates by banks have increased by 150-200 basis points.

Happy Reading!




How two brothers in Agra earn Rs2 lakh daily from mushroom farming


Kerala’s Sargasheshi breaks stereotypes by employing women with Down syndrome


How this Odisha artisan created modern straw craft using paddy waste


Seven ways to sell organic farm produce without going to mandis