Developing the Capacity and Improving Access of Small-Scale Farmers to Low Cost Artificial Substrate Mushroom Cultivation in South-Eastern Nigeria

"Low cost artificial substrate mushroom production and marketing hold some potential to create wealth and reduce poverty among small-scale farmers as well as improve nutritional status of households’ members. It offers a way to mitigate the effects of climate change on availability of endangered forest species like mushroom. The study is a capacity building mentorship to acquire and disseminate low cost artificial substrate mushroom cultivation in South Eastern Nigeria. The innovation acquired included major steps of low cost mushroom production such as: mushroom house construction, art of making a composted substrate, pasteurization, spawn maintenance, spawn production procedure, spawning, substrate supplementation, casing to trigger reproductive stage, watering or irrigation, monitoring the pinning processes to harvesting, harvesting and sorting and marketing. The up-scaling process involved selection and training of personnel who will continue to transfer the innovations to their clientele and students as well as training of selected students. Instruction manual was developed to ease the imparting of the technology to trainees. Workshops have been conducted to create more awareness and facilitate adoption and consumption of cultivated mushroom. Post-training evaluation included not only questions and answers but working on a small project to raise mushroom under supervision of the instructor who provided the material for the exercise."