Story from the MyFoodStory website:
Mushrooms were regard as wild crop in my community for a long a time, but with the emergence of the Mushroom project in Uashin Gishu. My people are becoming aware to learn of nutritional importance of mushrooms and their commercial value, which could help in alleviating starvation and poverty.
The Mushroom experience from a farmer group in Kenya near Eldoret has really spearheaded the experience and belief before. Mushroom growers association of Kenya in the vast Rift Valley province indicate that current mushroom production in Kenya is estimated at 500 tones per annum. They had that with a Mushroom per capita consumption of 1.54 Kg per adult equivalent, the potential demand would be 30, 800 tones annually.
The monetary value of this demand at price of Kes 150 per (current average market price for beef) would be $61.6m (Kes 4.62b). Of interest is the fact that where as the region stands a big chance of gaining highly from Mushrooms little is being done to exploit this potential.
Currently mushrooms have a premium price compared to beef. The existing average price for Mushrooms 275 percent higher the present percent of beef. If Mushrooms are made available and affordable like meat and promotional back up done, then its per capita consumption can rise to at least 10 percent of that of meat.
The consumption of mushrooms is still low because many people in Kenya do not know its importance including the community where I live. This is manifested in the poor response from some quarters of the country, where people do not value mushrooms. The other determining factor for poor consumption of mushrooms is the price, which is still high for a common citizen.
The association is working on modalities to reduce the production costs, which will lead to lowering prices of the commodity and hence higher consumption. It is hoped it will lead to a steady supply of the produce in the local market.
Mushroom is a very potential crop, which can be grown by poor households in a sustainable way to create a livelihood, improve nutrition and women participation in agriculture. As I am trying to explore this wonderful crop after seeing, it sold in a super market. Mushroom is crucial investment that can spur economic growth among the poor even with little water. Our Island though surrounded by water, the catchments is poor due to the drained galleys towards the lake. The low water demand for mushrooms can be very helpful if its introduced here.
Mushroom crops bear a huge potential to attain commercialization through increased production, lowering cost of production, mobilization and capacity building for producer groups, market access and increased consumption. Raising consumer awareness by making the product available through information gathering.
The overall impact of Mushroom commercialization ranges from income generation for poor households, nutrition improvement and environmental conservation. If technology is improved and information is near to the farmers, therefore traditional beliefs will be something of the past and more utilization can be done to commercialize more crops.
There were some types of mushrooms, which were regarded as good and nutritious. A hotel vendor in Kisumu Town has started giving a special dish only for mushrooms, he is getting customers due to unavailability of traditional dishes. His price is comparatively high and the local poor people cannot afford.
Editor: Samwel Kongere
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