Let’s talk coffee, and get cash into your pocket!
Let’s talk mushrooms, and get healthier and wealthier!
In this world, every person eats at least once a day, but the low income people (in the third world), are the farmers (small holder farmers, mostly).
Creating opportunities for farmers is what makes me happy; enabling farmers to take entrepreneurial decisions is my passion, which is why I am the Education and Outreach Manager at Kigali Farms.
Kigali Farms has reintroduced a forgotten crop as an opportunity for Rwanda to enjoy healthy food - mushrooms - and also the chance of creating income for farmers.
Spreading the word "mushroom” is the key to sensitize Rwandese on mushroom cultivation as business or for consumption at household level. It is in this regard that Kigali Farms participated in Sustainable Harvest’s "Let’s Talk Coffee” event in Kayonza, a district located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Sustainable Harvest is one of the world’s largest specialty-grade coffee suppliers; they operate in over 15 countries around the world and specialize in relationship coffee by forging close relationships with local coffee suppliers and cooperatives and reinvesting in these suppliers in education, training and community support.
During the 2 day event, participants were attracted and introduced to a healthier/wealthier crop – mushrooms - which many families are not familiar with as it has got some myths which prevented people from eating mushrooms.
After I presented an overview on mushroom production, women participants were curious to know more about mushrooms, and each group passed a session which covered requirements to grow mushrooms. Women found that they can grow mushrooms themselves, according to available materials. They also learned about the nutrient content of mushrooms and realized that they can replace meat with mushrooms since they are rich in proteins, oligo-elements (iron, calcium…), vitamins (B complex), and improve digestion as they contain fiber.
The testimonies from women participants were their intention on mushrooms before and how they found them delicious compared to meat! No woman could believe how we can make mushroom sambusa and mushroom-filled chapati! But now, women know that mushrooms can be cooked as simply as they cook meat!
During presentations, participants liked the mushroom value chain as it creates different options to make money through producing mushrooms, distributing mushrooms, selling fresh, dried or mushroom powder or selling diversified products from mushrooms such as sambusa, boulette and pizza.
I was inspired by meeting happy people, enthusiastic to know more about mushroom and introduce them on how they can become mushroom growers or consumers!