A little effort and commitment can lead to great success from humble beginnings. The Kalinga Mushroom Centre, owned and operated by Santosh Mishra, is a symbol of creativity and tenacity in the Pipli of Odisha's Puri region.

The establishment of this centre by Santosh, a Dandamukunda Pur village native and graduate of BJB College, has transformed the area's mushroom farming. Santosh faced difficulties on his journey. Despite his academic excellence, he was unable to continue his education due to financial constraints.

In 1989, he joined a mushroom cultivation training programme at the Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) in Bhubaneswar, having saved only Rs 36 over the years. This choice signalled the start of an incredible entrepreneurial adventure. Santosh asked OUAT scientists for guidance since he was aware of the technical difficulties involved in growing mushrooms and wanted to address problems such as excessive moisture, fungal contamination, and poor illumination.

Santosh began with 100 beds in a shed and raised the funds for it by borrowing money from his father. By May 1989, he had collected an amazing 150 kg of mushrooms. 5.2 kg of oyster mushrooms, sold for Rs 120 to corporate offices close to Santosh's college, was his first notable sale.

This was only the start of the success. He expanded his business to 3,000 beds with a later loan of Rs 60,000, earning him the title of "mushroom millionaire" in the 1990s with daily earnings of more than Rs 2550. Santosh Mishra of Odisha, who once was unable to pay for further education, founded a renowned mushroom farm that brings in Rs 10 lakh a year, as reported by The Better India.

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