By Zac B. Sarian

If you visit the A Liang Mushroom Garden in Taichung City, you will be greatly
impressed by the high quality of the processed products from almost 50 mushroom
species.

The place has become a favorite destination of agritourists who want not only to taste the different varieties, but also to learn some of the important aspects in making mushroom production a viable industry.

The strategy, naturally, is to produce enough volume of raw materials for processing, as well as to discover various ways of processing, packaging, and marketing the products.

Zacto Tour participants with the mushroom lecturer (third from left) at the Center. From
left (front row): Toto Barcelona, Roland Ong, Jacqueline Javier, Susan Villegas, and
Nida Acelajado. At the back are Felix Acelajado, and Pablito Villegas.

When you arrive at the place, you will be met by big volumes of stocks of dried mushrooms in big transparent plastic bags, one of which we were told to be worth at least P40,000 in Philippine money. Then there’s a lot of versions of vacuum-fried mushrooms for tasting. One of the favorites of our companions was the fried mushroom with wasabe.

Visitors are then led to a table where different species are beautifully growing in fruiting bags. They come in various colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns of growth. Some are very tiny, but others are big, yet soft. The fellow who does the lecture stresses that fresh mushroom does not have any queer smell. It has a nice smell.

Behind the store is a big area where 100,000 fruiting bags are placed on the floor for producing the best-selling species. Of course, the place is not enough to produce the requirements of the company where a lot of tourists and local buyers go to purchase their own requirements.

What can be learned 

because they have good reasons to go there. First, they have high quality processed mushroom products that people can afford. Second, visitors can learn a lot about mushrooms by just visiting the place. We realized that there are so many mushroom species in Taiwan that are being produced and harnessed for commercial purposes.

Can a similar project be developed in the Philippines? Perhaps, it will take the millennials to undertake a similar project that can also become a favorite destination for local and foreign visitors.

Maybe, the Taiwan government can help. Toto Barcelona has told us that Taiwan is donating a mushroom training facility in Benguet and Harbest Agribusiness will be do the installation of the equipment. Hopefully, this could help develop an honest-to-goodness mushroom industry that is financially viable in the Philippines.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s April 2019 issue.