An excerpt from the 2nd edition of the Ghana Gratitude newsletter:
Studies have revealed that cassava and yam peels can be used as alternative substrate for cultivating quality mushrooms. About 50% of cassava produced is utilised fresh while the rest are processed into various cassava related products. Findings show that over 90% of the peels generated were either burnt or just left unattended to at dumping sites. In the case of yams, waste is mostly generated at the consumption levels (households, chop bars and food vendors). Since yam processing is very limited, it is only done by a few small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Yam peels constitute about 14% of the volume of yams consumed in Ghana and approximately 5% of volumes of yams traded go to waste.
Gradually there is a shift from over dependence on wild mushrooms to the consumption of cultivated mushrooms in Ghana. This presents enormous opportunities for mushroom growers and subsequently the cassava and yam farmers.
There is a growing demand for value added organic products, especially in the food services industry like hotels and restaurants, and also for export. Thus cultivating mushroom is in the right direction.
Unlike traditionally known mushrooms which are collected from the wild during the wet season (March – September), cultivated mushrooms are available all year round.
Currently the number of mushroom growers in Ghana is estimated at 2500 and they are mostly concentrated in the Greater Accra area (about 50%), Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Volta, Western and the Central Regions of Ghana.
Why is mushroom cultivation important?
- Growing health consciousness of consumers
- Generates employment opportunities
- Augments government’s policies on agri-business
- Provides entrepreneurial development
Mushroom has high nutritive and medical value. They are a rich source of proteins, minerals and vitamins. Thus it has the capacity to convert nutritionally valueless substances into high protein foods (Hafiz et al 2003).
It recommended that cassava peels could be composited before being used for the cultivation of mushrooms. After the production of mushrooms, the spent substrate, which is rich in nutrients can be used to prepare animal feed (poultry and small ruminants) and bio-fertilisers for crop cultivation (Change 1997).