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“Shamu kam ma dra!” – “Don’t give me dried mushrooms!”

“Don’t give me dried mushrooms!” is a Dzongkha phrase that refers to “butter someone up” in order to obtain a favor. In short, mushrooms are so popular and powerful that they can even be used to manipulate people. Whether in the villages or in the towns, fresh and dried mushrooms are valued, sometimes as a farewell gift after after a visit or as an arrival gift for the host family. In recent years, the importance of wild mushrooms for the local market has also increased, as they fetch a good price and complement the traditional menu.

How it all began

A few years ago, Bhutan Network developed the first specialized mushroom tours in Bhutan together with the Bhutanese travel agency Bhutan Homestay and the mycologist Daniel Winkler. It didn’t take long before local mushroom lovers joined the groups to search the forests for mushrooms and generally learn more about mushrooms in Bhutan. The annual mushroom hunt with Daniel in the Bhutanese forests has become very popular. Furthermore, Daniel is always ready to provide advice and support to locals on identification and sustainable collection of mushrooms. He occasionally collaborates with the National Mushroom Center (NMC). Interestingly, during our mushroom trips we realized that although a few families in Bhutan collected porcini mushrooms for their own consumption, the majority considered them inedible!

Knowing about the valuable properties and excellent taste of the porcini mushroom, the Bhutan Network, together with the National Mushroom Center and the community of Geney in the Thimphu district, has carried out workshops and further processing trials. These are intended to support the sustainable marketing of the porcini mushroom. The taste and texture of the porcini mushroom are now becoming increasingly popular and the municipality of Geney is very interested in further marketing the porcini mushroom. Porcini mushrooms are also very popular in Europe, which is why the community of Geney decided to try exporting withGebana, also to deepen their knowledge during the preparations.

Gebana Access to Market Platform

gebana access to market platform was set up for smallholders and local producers who harvest and refine products of extraordinary quality worldwide. For many of these producers there is no adequate or stable market. gebana offers interested people in Europe to buy directly from these producers via the Access to Market Platform . The principle behind this is crowd ordering is that a number of consumers order a product together so as to achieve a minimum order quantity. gebana supports the producers with know-how, and organises the logistics.

Please note: Currently this platform is limited to consumers in selected European countries.

Why market access is important

Access to a larger market for porcini mushrooms promotes sustainable wild mushroom harvesting and mushroom processing. The Geney community collects mushrooms for their own consumption but the surplus has great market potential and creates an additional source of income at a time when many young people are leaving the villages to try their luck elsewhere. Currently, Australia is the preferred destination to find better income.

The newly identified porcini mushroom has great potential and through the gebana access to market platform we raise awareness and advocate for its collection and sale. This helps immensely to make this delicious mushroom viable in the local market.