Rwf400 million mushroom project to tackle malnutrition

Some of the oyster mushrooms that are being grown in Burera District. The mushrooms were given to the residents by Kigali Farms Ltd. Régis Umurengezi.

Kigali Farms Ltd, a mushroom growing company based in Musanze District, has unveiled a mushroom village in Gahunga sector, Musanze – a project seen as a solution to malnutrition in Northern and Western provinces.

The project, which comprises of 15 growing houses, is expected to boost farmers’ yields through increased technical skills and farm inputs.

It will benefit farmers from Northern and some parts of Western province.

Kigali Farm plans to roll out similar projects in every district of Northern Province as well as Nyabihu, Ngororero and Rubavu districts of Western Province.

The target areas are among the districts with some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country, a phenomenon largely blamed on limited knowledge on healthy feeding practices.

With a stunting rate of 59 per cent, Nyabihu has the highest rate of preventable stunting in children under the age of five years, according to official statistics.

Laurent Demuynck, the Chief Executive Officer of Kigali Farms Ltd, said that investing in the oyster mushroom also aims to support government efforts to eradicate malnutrition.

“Mushrooms are the perfect crop for Rwanda because they provide a lot of good nutrition on very little space and the way you do it is by recycling agricultural waste,” he told The New Times.

In the new mushroom village one finds a four square metres house in which a farmer can get between 500 and 600 kilogrammes of mushroom per year.

Demuynck explained that it takes about Rwf8 million to build and run each village. The farm plans to spend Rwf400 million to build 50 mushroom villages.

To identify the beneficiaries, Demuynck said they work closely with grassroots leaders, especially healthcare volunteers.

“We work with the healthcare workers and we really like them a lot as they work at every umudugudu (village), they know the local population well, they are familiar with the challenges related to malnutrition,” he said.

Farmers upbeat

Local farmers who are working with Kigali Farms Ltd expressed optimism in the project, saying it will improve their welfare.

“I can now prepare a balanced diet with ease. I will be earning more money in the near future,” said Jacqueline Mukaremera, one of the beneficiaries from Gahunga Sector.