Posted September 2000
Annex 1: Layout of mushroom cultivation center
Annex 2: Buildings and equipment
Annex 3: Main steps in mushroom cultivation
Annex 4: Contributors to the project's success
Most trainees came from the Ubon Ratchathani area within a radius of approximately 150 km from the center. Few came from other provinces. Selection had to be conducted under strict criteria while motivation needed to be assessed. Selection remains a key component to ensure sustainability and replicability of the mushroom farm on a private scale. This crucial process can be summarized as follows:
Review of general listing: The list containing the names of approximately 7 000 disabled people in the Ubon Ratchathani region, is supplied by the Disability Matters Section at the Department of Public Welfare and the local Department of Public Welfare.
Pre-selection: Age and disability is reviewed. Ideally, ages should range between 20 - 35 years old, although some exceptions made for younger and older candidates have proven justified and rewarding by their dedication and success. Multiple disabled people were not selected because of the special needs they have in terms of mobility, understanding and replicating potential. Candidates with basic literacy were favored as to facilitate learning.
Diversity of location: From the remaining list of a few hundred, people needed to be selected from various communities. Because of feasibility and the pilot nature of the project, it is necessary to monitor the number of trainees who come from a same community as to avoid saturation of the local market.
Each candidate interviewed at home: Trainers visit the remaining fifty to seventy candidates. Trainers must verify that candidates have family support, community support and access to land for the set-up of a mushroom house following training.
Verification of commitment: Trainers verify the commitment of both family and potential trainees as to their will to set-up a mushroom house following training.
Verification of motivation: Trainers needed to ensure that candidates were highly motivated in learning about mushroom cultivation because they personally liked to eat and cook mushrooms, and had learned about mushrooms from their ancestors.
Verification of availability: Trainers must make sure that the candidate is able, committed and ready to leave home to learn about mushroom cultivation for a period of two months.
Final selection: Trainers sit together and discuss their visits by reviewing each candidate and deciding whether or not a candidate should be selected. Final selection is made after reviewing all potential trainees. Because this is a pilot project, only 20 - 30 candidates per group could be selected.
Note: Although strict criteria were followed, two trainees of the second group returned home after only a few weeks for personal and family reasons. Criteria are there to increase chances of sustainability but cannot control unexpected events that may occur in the private lives of trainees.