Zimbabwe now promoting mushroom farming

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Photo: © JEKESAI NJIKIZANA

For years I have been writing about what I think government must do as far as mushroom farming is concerned, today has been very special as the permanent secretary in  ministry of Dr. John Bhasera gave welcoming remarks through his representative Dr. Dumisani   Kitywayo  at the ongoing National workshop on “Applications of Juncao technology and its contribution to the achievement of sustainable agriculture and the sustainable development goals and in Zimbabwe” which is co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG), National Engineering Research Centre for Juncao Technology of the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU), China, and Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Zimbabwe

It is my hope that the governed of Zimbabwe will move with speed with the Juncao technology that is practiced in many countries across the globe. Many NGOs have been supporting mushroom growing Zimbabwe with various successes. The government had been very quiet.

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While the workshop is about how Zimbabwe can adopt the Juncao technology to achieve sustainable agriculture which in turn will help fight hunger and poverty, this is taking place while leaders are gathered in Glasgow for cop 26, where the issue of climate change is a hot potato. It is comforting to know that mushrooms and in particular the Juncao technology can help reducing carbon in a way that many do not, and may not consider.

The majority in Zimbabwe are directly and indirectly employed in the agriculture sector. When we have a drought the economy shrinks. When we have great rains like we just had in the 2020-2021 farming season the economy grows, it is expected to grow by a significant percentage after years of negative growth and slow growth. The government expects growth of about 7.4% while the IMF and African development bank predicts about 6% growth despite the Covid 19 pandemic. I have spoken about prospects of the economy growing in 2021 on BBC radio

Mushrooms farming has huge potential in the sense that it has a quick turnaround. No Agriculture crop compares to mushrooms in general. Oyster mushrooms we are looking at harvesting starting in an average of 30 days. Mushrooms can be grown even when we have a drought and with the Juncao technology the possibilities are higher and can provide livelihoods to small holder farmers and anyone growing it.

So mushroom has a potential to fight hunger and poverty in a quick way than most agricultural crops. With the Juncao technology there are many advantages Including fighting erosion and desertification.

Without sustainable agriculture it is going to be tough to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and attain the AU agenda 2063. One can ask how is mushroom farming so sustainable? Mushroom farming did not require arable land, they can be grown all year round, harvesting starts in 25 days (for Oyster mushrooms), agro and waste can be used and now with the Juncao technology the growing media can be grown and it can help protect fight climate change. The grass can be grown all year round with little water.

I am looking forward to it visit to Gwebi Agriculture college for a juncao demonstration center next Thursday 4 November 2020, this is evidence that the government is warning up to the mushroom technology industry

The Juncao technology sounds brilliant and it’s being used in many countries. Zimbabwe like many African countries are lagging behind on mushroom farming, which is very sustainable and can be used to advance goal 1 and 2 of the Sustainable development goals. It should take advantage of current efforts by development partners and we entrepreneurs who are the major players in the industry. Most importantly mushroom spawn labs (seed makers) are sustaining the industry. South Africa also sustains the industry as a huge amount of spawn comes from there a situation that can change if the government is involved. More articles will be published till 12 November a day after the virtual tour of the Juncao technology at COP 26  on “ Juncao Grass Green Barrier: Ecological Control and Industry Development by Juncao Technology,” hosted by  the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the National Engineering Research Centre for Juncao Technology of the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU), and Fujian Juncao Development Engineering Association.

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