The call for diversification from crude oil to agriculture is yielding fruit lately, with the Ivory Towers keying into the need for food sustainability and reliability. This has prompted the Babcock University, Ilishan Remo ,Ogun State ,Nigeria to partner and collaborate with ChiTola Farms & The Mushroom Development Foundation Nigeria (MDFN) on ways to develop high yielding and quality mushrooms in Nigeria for domestic use and export, in line with the global best practices.
The partnership with Babcock University and ChiTola Farms & The Mushroom Development Foundation Nigeria (MDFN) will bring to bear the modern agricultural practices on Mushroom Farming and the introduction of the Babcock Farmers Business School, ChiTola Farms & Mushroom Development Foundation Nigeria is currently setting up a 5000 bags capacity mushroom farm for Babcock University under the Foundation’s “Mushroom For Schools” Initiative. This will unarguably create the much needed jobs in the community and also give the students a first hand knowledge in modern mushroom farming.
One of the organizers and founders of the initiative, Mrs. Chi Tola, has this to say on the choice of mushroom “Mushroom is a food that is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein. The mushroom consumption is mainly concentrated in six countries known as G-6 (USA, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada) consuming 85 per cent of world consumption. The varieties of mushroom cultivated internationally. This project would give the state the much needed revenue and generate employment”, she added.
One of the drawbacks of this aspect of agriculture is the lack of trained manpower is among the bottlenecks for the growth of the mushroom. With this partnership with Babcock University and Chi Tola Farms , there will be a shift in paradigm. Skills transfer is one of the major areas of partnership.
According to online research by Yes Bank, Mushroom belonging to fungi species, is a nutritious vegetarian delicacy and a good source of high quality protein (20-35 percent dry weight). Presently 3 varieties of mushroom are cultivated namely, white mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), the paddy-straw mushroom (Volvariella vovvacea) and oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sajor-caju). Agaricus species are mostly cultivated mushroom globally, contributing 35-40 per cent of the world production. Mushroom is consumed as a delicacy and possesses several medicinal properties. Mushroom is an efficient means for conversion of agricultural wastes into valuable protein and presents huge potential for generating additional income and employment. Globally, the mushroom market is in excess of an estimated $2.7 billion annually.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu