SUNBIZ

Mushroom Import Could Drop by 2020

Increase in local production of edible mushrooms could see a significant reduc­tion of the commodity being imported into the country by 2020. This is being done through the continued efforts
16 Nov 2018 10:34
Mushroom Import Could Drop by 2020
Pleurotus ostreatus or Oyster mushroom produced locally. Photo: Maraia Vula

Increase in local production of edible mushrooms could see a significant reduc­tion of the commodity being imported into the country by 2020.

This is being done through the continued efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and the JUNCAO Technology Training Course being carried out by local farmers.

The sale of mushroom could become a lucrative business as the price of edible mushroom most times hovered around $16 a kilogramme.

 

Once trained, local farmers would be able to sup­ply locally produced mushrooms for the tourism market in the country.

China-Fiji JUNCAO Technology Demonstration Centre, Legalega Research Station in Nadi senior research officer Tekini Nakidakida spoke at the 24th JUNCAO Technology Training Course.

The training was aimed at farmers and key stake­holders, where Mr Nakidakida detailed the phases being implemented by the Ministry to ensure the reduction of mushroom imports.

“According to a survey we conducted last year in the Western Division, majority of the hotels buy their mushrooms from overseas.

“After engaging with them during the survey, they have shown an interest to buy local mushrooms and help in the reduction of mushroom imports.

“The onus is on local mushroom producers to be able to meet the demands of the market,” he said.

Growing mushrooms on a large scale

There are now more than 60 farmers growing mushrooms on a large scale, with continued inter­est in mushroom production coming from Central and Western Divisions.

“We want to have more co-ordinated groups in Fiji in the second phase that can consistently sup­ply the market, especially the hoteliers and restau­rants,” he said.

The second phase of the project would include more promotion and awareness of mushroom to the farmers and stakeholders, the establishment of cluster groups for the production and establish­ment of the mushroom industry, the use of the JUNCAO grass to improve livestock and the use of the grass in environmental conservation in Fiji.

“At the end of the second phase, there should be enough production and locals should be aware of what is happening and where they can access the facilities,” he added.

The second phase of the JUNCAO Technology began in January 2018 and will continue for three years until 2020.

Climate difference

Meanwhile areas in the central division like Na­sole have been yielding good harvests while the story has not been that good in the west.

The difference is the climate where the edible mushrooms grow better in the cool dry season which is from around end of May to November.

The medicine mushroom grows all year round and is not affected by the heat.

Lin Zhansen, the officer in-charge at the centre had earlier said for farmers in the west to increase their mushroom business, a cooling shed to grow the mushrooms was the best option as the western heat was not conducive for growing mushroom.

A farm in Nadi has been selling batches of the pleurotus ostreatuus or oyster mushroom which is for consumption to local vegetable produce whole­saler company, Farmboy.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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