Mushroom farmers urged to increase output

Rwandans have been urged to venture into mushroom growing to take advantage of the big market for the crop.
Women sell mushrooms in Nyaruguru District.    The New Times / File photo
Women sell mushrooms in Nyaruguru District. The New Times / File photo

Rwandans have been urged to venture into mushroom growing to take advantage of the big market for the crop.

According to a senior official at the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), Rwanda produces only 60 per cent of what is consumed locally, the rest is imported.

Alphonse Niyibeshaho, the director of post-harvest at RAB, said there was need to increase mushroom production in the country to reduce the periodic shortages the country suffers.

“Currently, Rwanda doesn’t export mushrooms, but we rather import. Mushroom farmers in the country only produce 1,500 tonnes or 60 per cent of what is needed on the market,” said Niyibeshaho.

He said RAB has put in place measures to reduce the shortage, including encouraging creation of mushroom-growing co-operatives and providing them equipment to make mushroom tubes. RAB also trains and links farmers to buyers.

In a related development, during a forum last week that brought together stakeholders in the sector, they agreed to work hard to increase mushroom volumes.

The forum was held under the theme “Agribusiness in Rwanda today and a vision for the future”.

“Mushrooms require a small piece of land and little energy to cultivate, making it an ideal crop for everyone. They flourish in a fresh and humid climate since they are not plants, but fungi.

“We provide seeds to farmers and buy the mushrooms from those who are willing to sell to us,” said the Kigali Farms CEO, Laurent Demuynck.

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