Mushrooms are becoming very popular in Uganda. They used to be consumed only in the big hotels and restaurants, but they are becoming more and more popular with the local market and the high cost of imported mushrooms makes starting a mushroom garden a very good idea.
LiA Kireka members plan to do just that. They have researched the market and have a good solid market already arranged in Kampala. They will grow their crops at the center in Kireka as a community project which will not only help to support the center expenses but will provide a profit sharing program that all the participating members will share in. There are about 30 members (mostly women) who will participate.
The mushrooms are grown in black plastic bags which are called "gardens". Once planted it takes about 2 months until harvest. They plan to start 400 gardens and plant them on a rotation system every two weeks so they will be harvesting on a regular basis. Once harvested the garden will be replaced so they will continue to produce.
The mushrooms are started using Substrate: this is the organic materials on which to grow the mushroom. Various agricultural wastes can be used singly or in combination like cotton seed husks, bagasse, dry maize cobs, dry banana leaves etc. LiA has chosen to use cotton seed husks because of its availability and high yield productivity of mushroom. The spawn (mushroom seed) is planted in the substrate.
Using a small grant awarded by Life in Africa USA, the community is busy building the dark room that will house their gardens. This part of the project is almost complete.
They have used heavy black plastic and papyrus to create the room. It will create the controlled environment needed for a successful crop of mushrooms.
Now it is time to start planting the gardens. They are looking for sponsors to assist in this second phase of the project. It will cost approximately $1.50 to start each of the 400 gardens. That is less than the cost of a cup of coffee. They will be using part of the profits to re-invest in new gardens so the harvests will continue for years to come. The impact of this project will not only allow the center to be self supporting but will provide some necessary income to members and will provide training in new skills that can be duplicated.
You can learn more about this project by following the discussions on