Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Mushroom Growing Resource center convened a training for farmers from Uplands Mushroom Self-help Group in a bid to equip them with mushroom growing skills, April 29, 2021.
The farmers were trained on button mushroom formulation and production process, control of pests and diseases, packaging, preservation and harvesting and post-harvest handling.
According to the Forest Station Manager, Uplands Forest Station, Nairobi County, Mr. Isaac Waweru, the training was fully catered for by the Kenya forest service (KFS) as a way to giving back to communities who manage the forest through living and cultivating around it.
“The KFS act says that communities living around the forest should benefit through the plantation establishment and livelihood improvement scheme (PELIS). Through the scheme they plant food crops for both subsistence and commercial purposes,” said Mr. Waweru.
Mr. Waweru revealed mushroom farming is a viable economic venture and is instrumental in changing the fortunes of the farmers.
“Mushroom farming is quite profitable compared to other practices such as beekeeping and eco-tourism which are quite common around forests,” said Mr. Waweru.
Speaking after the training, Chairman, Uplands Mushroom Self-help Group, Mr. Simon Githinji was appreciative of the training and all the stakeholders involved, noting that the information and skills they had been impacted with would go along way in ensuring they are a success in button mushroom farming.
“We had earlier ventured in mushroom farming in 2019 but we failed due to lack of essential skills. This training has really been an eye opener in our earlier shortfalls,” said Mr. Githinji.
Mr. Patrick Muchiri, a Senior Technician and Researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology Research (IBR) at JKUAT, urged the participants to ensure they effectively plan before they venture fully into mushroom farming as it requires prior planning to ensure smooth running of any business.
Mr. Muchiri, who was the trainer, underscored the importance of keeping records, urging the participants to ensure they diligently kept records that are accurate, reliable, and easy to follow.
He said JKUAT is committed to the training and will continue to train farmers across the counties on how to build a mushroom housing structure, grow, prepare, dry and package the mushrooms.