Now the ball that I am holding is what we call the
mushroom garden. They are made out of organic materials
called substrate which comes from beans trast, cotton
seed hulls, waste or saw dust etc. These organic materials must be
pasteurised before being used to grow the mushrooms. This is done by
boiling or steaming.
After pasteurising the substrate you let it cool and
you drain the excess water. Then you mix the mushroom seed (spawn)
with the substrate, put it into black plastic bags and seal it
tightly. You place the substrate in the incubation hut at 25-30 degrees
Celsius for at least three weeks which is the incubation period..
After three weeks you remove the black plastic bag
and lower the temperature and increase the humidity of the room. After 4-7
days of removing the black plastic bags then the mushroom (or primordia)
begins to grow into mature mushroom. Now is the harvest time for the
mushrooms and the harvest may continue to come for about two months.
The gardens that I am holding will now start to give
mushrooms. I have started harvesting this morning and have
some ready for sale.
Each kilo of fresh mushroom is sold locally at
3,000 shillings, so at least daily I am sure of 2,000 to 3,000 shilling
depending on the harvest per that day.
Mushroom has nutritional
values which are so helpful for the health of my family.
Fresh mushroom has 4% protein, this is the
equivalent of the protein content of milk. The protein in mushroom is high
quality as it consists of the essential amino acids and amides as well as
the non-essential ones which helps to reduce the protein malnutrition
that is now so rampant in the poor diet of the refugee camps in northern
have the plans to train the women in the camps to grow mushroom.
Mushroom are low in carbohydrates so they
are recommended for people who are obese, diabetic, or on diet. The
carbohydrate in mushroom contain polysaccharides that inhibit the growth
of cancer tumours. Although mushroom has a very low
fat content the fat is high quality being composed of unsaturated
fatty acids and lipids, and does not accumulate around blood vessels to
cause heart problems.
Mushroom are rich in
vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, C and a precursor of Vit. D. Mushroom are
rich in Calcium. Potassium, Phosphorous, Iron and Zinc and have
Anti Cancer properties as the polysaccharides inhibit the growth
of cancer tumours. Mushroom have been known to cure intestinal and stomach
ulcer if eaten regularly, and are used to treat skin diseases, especially
those of fungal origin.
Mushroom can be used to treat infectious diseases of
bacterial origin as they contain antibiotic properties similar to those of
penicillium, and contain egesterol that break down cholesterol in the
blood, regulates blood pressure, and prevents hypertension. Mushroom
strengthen the immune system of the body.
[Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, Kampala
[Egypt International Centre of Agriculture at Giza, Cairo]
[University of Ghent, Belgium, Federica Nshemereirwe.]
The Set Up Costs
150,000 shillings or £50 for making a hut. In the refugee camps they already have these small huts which we can use
to produce mushroom.
300,000 shillings or £100 per hut is required for
seeds, for making up the mushroom beds and the purchase of other things
like boiling drums for making up the substrata for the mushroom gardens,
polycentric bags, spirit, basin etc to set up the mushrooms.
For the second and further plantings we only need
200,000 / £66 shilling to buy seed.
One hut can raise 25 gardens and within 5 weeks each garden can give 9
kilograms of mushrooms.
25 gardens x 9 kilograms of fresh mushroom =
225 kilograms in total per hut.
Here each kilogram is sold locally for 3000 shilling / £1
If dried and send to Kampala for export, a kilogram would sell at 15,000
shillings / £5
One huts brings 225 kilos which locally is sold at £225 or 675,000
The initial profit would be 675,000 shillings income
less 300,000 shillings for set-up costs which equals to 375,000 shillings or £125 per hut after the first four to
After that it would be 675,000 shillings less
200,000 shillings for new seed = 475,000 shillings profit £158.
Last Sunday we had another opportunity to visit our
churches in Loro. With the money that I raised from the sale of mushrooms,
we were able to transport the team, buy beans, meat, cassava and rice to
feed the orphans, widows and other Church members. We found the goat bank
animals very healthy and pregnant. The orphans were planting sunflowers,
beans and cassava using manure from the goats. The widows were so happy
and looking forward to get their own mushroom project started. The
Government leader expressed his gratitude to DCI saying, "I would like to
appreciate you for the programme that you have come to help us with. We
believe that God has seen it. You are the only ones who help the orphans,
widows and the oppressed people in Loro." We have plans to help them build
a church because they meet under the big tree, which is now risky with the
rain. However the bad news is that the rebels are still abducting and
killing people just 20 kilometres away.
Pastor George Purkweri.
The writer is Pastor George Purkweri of Lira,
His Bank for the Poor projects include tailoring, computer training, a
goat bank and chicken farming
Contact by e-mail
Return to the Bank for the Poor main page