New research, published in Food Science and Nutrition(January 2021), found that adding a mushroom serving to the diet increased the intake of several micronutrients, including so-called shortfall nutrients such as vitamin D, without any increase in calories, sodium or fat. It is high in often forgotten nutrients say scientists, with very little drawbacks in terms of calories or saturated fats to worry about. They provide several key nutrients.
Professionals argue that mushroom production is one of the few large‐scale commercial applications of microbial technology for bioconversion of agricultural and forestry waste materials to valuable foods.
Uncertainly, mushrooms are significant potential contributors to the world food supply since they have the ability to transform nutritionally worthless wastes into protein-rich food. Oyster mushrooms are rather easy to grow on a small scale on a wide range of substrates and different climatic conditions.
Moreover, mushrooms are characterized by the rapidity of growth under a wide range of temperature, the ability to colonize substrate in short duration and the potential to tolerate higher concentration of carbon dioxides, which acts as a protection against competitor molds. Furthermore, it is fast growing, requires no casing, less fragile than others and has market in the dry form as well. They are by far the easiest and least expensive to grow and are the clear choice for gaining entry into the mushroom industry, it said.
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Ethiopian Agricultural Research Council Secretariat chief coordinator Dr. Mekuria Tadesse said that mushrooms are neither animal or plants’ product. They are natural resources. Various mushroom types are found globally; edible and none edible. There are also several mushroom types in Ethiopia too.
Similar to other countries mushrooms have a great potential specially in creating job creation opportunities for the youth and women in Ethiopia. But, it needs efforts especially on awareness creation including professional trainings.
Universities and research centers collect various kinds of mushrooms types for research purpose, particularly Addis Ababa University has collected three edible mushroom types. Besides, different mushroom companies are producing mushroom Spaw for different kinds of food preparation . In Ethiopia, they can be produced in SNNPS ,Amhara , Oromia and in Benishanule as well, he said .
There are also diverse types of mushroom production and feeding cultures . Globally, countries can export up to 56 billion USD annually. China only exports up to 25 billion USD annually . In our case, apart from using as food, medicine , we can export and generate foreign currency income. But various activities are carried out to access and expand mushroom production to the farmers. They are offered various trainings, particularly for youth and women.
Dina Ermias who is the manger of Wagions Biotech has been engaged in mushroom spaw production. She been involved laboratory propagation only from 2012-2013. Besides , in collaboration with Narus Biotech P.L.C, she had been produced Pineapple from 2013-2015; multiplication and seedling production of pineapple cultivar smooth cayenne. In addition, Wagions Biotech has been producing Aloe vera multiplication and seedling production in collaboration with Ariti Herbal Products and Hamle 19 park. In terms of her capacity , she has tissue culture laboratory with a capacity to produce 30,000 spaw per year
According to researchers, the cultivation of edible mushrooms which are nutritious food and help to diversify farm income generation. Nowadays, the demand for mushrooms in Ethiopian cities is increasing. The techniques used in the production system can also be handled by the poor, disabled people and women.
Mushroom is a fungus that is rich in protein and a high yielder that remains safe from natural calamities. Mushrooms are rich in protein compared with other vegetables and its production can be one of the most promising and highly desirable activities in developing countries to reduce protein malnutrition.
On a dry weight basis, protein content ranges between 21-30 percent . High concentration of lysine in mushroom protein makes it an ideal food to supplement the cereal diet for overcoming the lysine deficiency, they said.
Open Agriculture Journal in its “Evaluation of Different Substrates for Yield and Yield Attributes of Oyster Mushroom in Crop-livestock Farming System of Northern Ethiopia” said that worldwide, malnutrition is an underlying cause for deaths of millions children under the age of 5 each year.
Moreover, Ethiopian population is increasing at an alarming rate and in the near future, there will be a shortage of land for food production. Erratic rainfall, shortage of land, low yield of traditional crops and low nutritional status of most crops especially in protein are among the causes of the aforementioned problems. Ethiopia has witnessed encouraging progress in reducing malnutrition over the past decade.
However, baseline levels of malnutrition remain so high that the country must continue to make significant investments in nutrition. Malnutrition is one of the main public health and developmental problems in the country.
Therefore, agricultural production is one important means of achieving food and nutrition security. Food self-sufficiency can be brought about through diversification of production and consumption. Therefore, strategies of agricultural production that do not require large area of land are gaining popularity.
Mushroom provides the highest amount of proteins. This is because mushroom could be produced 4-6 times a year, it said.
In addition, mushrooms supply carbohydrates, vitamins (B, C, D and K) and minerals like Ca, Na, P, and K. They have medicinal properties such as anti-cancer, anti-cholesterol and anti-tumor functions. They are useful against diabetes, ulcer and lung disease.
In Tigray , there is an abundance of agricultural waste products which in some areas is normally discarded while mushrooms can be successfully cultivated. Moreover, highlighted that mushrooms have the capacity to transform agricultural waste into nutritious food and offer great opportunities for addressing the region’s food security challenges. Hence, improvement is required on the present nature of technical knowledge for sustainable mushroom yield through maintaining mushroom cultivation, availability of requisite raw materials is mandatory.
Besides, in the central zone of the Tigray state . particularly in Aksum town and its surroundings, there is no modern way of mushroom production. Moreover, there is no research available on yield or other related attributes of oyster mushroom in relation to organic substrates for growing mushrooms in the study area. Accordingly, it has been suggested that there is no research on the substrate, mushroom type and other appropriate technology in Ethiopia.
Lately, Ethiopia and China officially had launched a mushroom project, enables Ethiopia to develop the sector with modern technology and scientifically.
Situated on the premises of the Technology Institute of the Addis Ababa University (AAiT), the Ethiopia 1550 Mushroom Programme incorporates Ethiopia’s national mushroom spawn resources development center and Ethiopia’s national mushroom technology training center.
Starting with small scale, the project was designed to be scaled up with more project sites and involving more mushroom farmers for training across the country, promoting Ethiopia’s mushroom production and productivity, thereby securing improved benefits from the sector, it said The programme will develop five mushroom project sites in the capital city and surrounding areas to produce next grade spawns, and of the five sites two have already been built.
Speaking at the project’s official opening ceremony on the premises of AAiT, Esayas Gebre-Yohannes, Executive Director of AAiT, noted that the programme would have multifaceted benefits to Ethiopia, promoting mushroom production and productivity, creating job opportunities, as well as knowledge and technology transfer as well as research and development.
In his remarks on the occasion, Abdulsemed Abdo, Advisor to the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, said the edible mushrooms within consumer preferences and perceptions has not been studied though mushroom is an important commodity worldwide in general, and in Ethiopia in particular.
Stating that investing in improved mushroom varieties and associated modern inputs is a critical step towards increased yields, the advisor has said the tripartite project would help the country address some of the critical challenges in the area of technology development it has faced in the area.
“Some of the specific challenges associated with mushroom production include the limited capacity and lack of role clarity of the different actors, the focus of the system on very few varieties, mismatch between supply and demand resulting in shortage and excess inventory, and quality issues due to inappropriate production, storage, and transport practices and facilities,” he said.