Mushroom is a delicacy for many around the world. In Cameroon, this crop (fungi) is harvested from the wild once a year during the month of April to May. This activity mobilises many women and youths (girls and boys) who rely on it for income.
Harvested mushrooms mostly the Agaricus and the termitomyces species are sold on the roadsides and more often by youths as it generates substantial amount of money which is used to pay part of their school fees, buy school supplies and even pay medical and telephone bills.
Many people in Cameroon solicit mushrooms because of its good taste, medicinal and nutritive value, cheap and available especially during its peak season. During off season, it is not the case. Mushrooms are practically absent in the market and very few traders (middle men) are in possession of some bags of dry mushroom. A bucket (15 liters) is often sold between 15 000 - 25 000 FCFA ($30 to $50). A plate of mushroom is very expensive in restuarants and hotels.
Cultivating mushrooms is a good business owing to its short production cycle and poor farmers or youths can easily start up a small farm if trained. This will put mushroom on the table and in the market all year round generating substantial amount of income to prospective growers.
The government has not been very supportive of this activity and we still struggle to import mother spawns to produce base 2 cultured spawns which farmers use to grow mushrooms. In addition, many people are unaware about the different types of edible mushrooms so there is inadequate sensitisation. Absence of financial and technical support also contributes a great deal
Developing an effective training and extension program will go a long way in promoting mushroom cultivation as a source of livelihood and income for the rural and urban dwellers.
As an extension officer at CEDEP, operating a large spawn (seed) unit is primordial. We are currently establishing a network of mushroom growers known as CAMP (Cameroon Mushroom Producers) and through this, we can produce and market mushroom and its related products.