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Home Harvest Money Expo Mushroom Farmers tipped On Value Addition

Mushroom Farmers tipped On Value Addition

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Ibrahim Ruhweza

For a long time, most farmers have been growing mushrooms just for fun and, at times, for home consumption. In so doing, they lose money, which they would have reaped compared to white collar jobs or crops they usually grow. A kilogramme of value-added mushrooms can yield up to sh16,000, and the one that is not can accumulate to only sh5, 000.

Abel Kiddu, a mushroom expert, has grown mushrooms for over 13 years. To him, mushrooms have opened doors of success and are now one of the most prominent growers in the country. Kiddu says mushrooms are an organic food that everyone needs. He explains that by adding value to the fresh mushrooms, a farmer can be able to produce wine, soup, porridge, mushroom flour, jellies, and others. Other byproducts a farmer can get are samosas, medicines after a long processing in pharmaceuticals. According to him, medicine made from mushrooms can treat cancer, ulcers, and other chronic diseases.

Kiddu says investing in mushroom-growing can help mostly young farmers multiply profits, which sustains their livelihood and creates more opportunities for others. The expert predicts the future of the mushroom industry, saying that for it to grow, it will depend on the specialisation of farmers and improve quality and quantity. He recommends investing in research to find out about other types of mushrooms. Currently, most Ugandan mushroom farmers depend on oysters, but there are other types, such as button.

A trainer explains how to get the best out of mushroom farming

Kiddu also believes that if farmers can invest in cooperatives to share skills and ideas, it will make a great impact. Mushroom growers in Uganda do most of it on an individual basis, making it hard to grow. A number of attendees who attended the eighth edition of the Harvest Money Expo agreed that adding value to their mushrooms was the way to go. Aidah Kemigisha, an interested farmer, says for a long time she has tried investing in mushroom growing but only lacked ideas and proper direction. She had come in for training in mushroom growing. As a stay-home mother, she projected uncountable benefits if she embarked on the practice. “I have been home seated for a long time, and I have been told that you can grow mushrooms in any small space you have at home, and they can be grown at any time,” she said.

Sarah Nabumba left the training convinced about mushroom growing. Nabbumba has over 10 acres of land in Luwero, and she regrets why it has been vacant all along.

Participants record sections of the training

“Now that I have the skills, it seems to be going well. The trainer has given us the best ideas,” she says. Ruth Nayiga, a retired teacher from Mityana Road, said growing mushrooms has been difficult, but with insufficient skills, it has even been harder. She has been only producing three kilogrammes a day, with others not germinating. The Harvest Money Expo began on Friday and will end on Sunday, February 25.

The expo is sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Techno Serve, Tunga Nutrition, Engsol Engineering Solutions, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), dfcu Bank, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Warehouse Receipt system Authority, Pepsi, State House Uganda, AKVO International, MAAIF, PSFU and KOICA. The expo is running under the theme, “Farming as a business”.

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