YAP Proposal #223: Commercialising Mushroom (Kale Asigbetse, Togo)

AsigbetseKale

About me

My name is Kale Asigbetse, 26 years old, and I am from Togo. I am a graduate of environment and plant biology from the University of Lomé. I have worked as an environmentalist, journalist and natural sciences teacher. I also hold a certificate from an introductory e-course on climate change from UNITAR.

For the last 10 months I have been producing mushroom at a very low cost in Hanyigba, where I currently live, near Kpalimé, the great town of South-west Togo.

What is the “Tona Mushroom” project about?

This is a project that aims to produce and sell mushrooms, especially Pleurotus, in Kpalimé and Lomé, the capital city of Togo. The most important feature of the project is that I want the production to be available continuously, which is unlike what has been done so far.

There have been some mushroom producers who have faced difficulties to make the product available all the time, either because their investment was too low, they couldn’t hire workers or they didn’t manage their income well.

Because I have done it at a small scale, I know that mushroom production can be profitable if well planned and efficiently managed.

As for the community I’m living in, the project will create jobs, meaning livelihood improvement not only for the laborers hired but also for their families. As the project grows, more people will be hired to work on the farm and sell the produce. The growth medium used to produce mushroom will be made available and combined with other materials to sell as green manure.

Motivations

Many people, and especially children, have malnutrition problems, and it is not because they don’t eat enough but because their food is not diversified enough to provide useful nutrients like proteins, vitamins and mineral elements in the required quantity.

Mushroom is a stand-alone, naturally fortified food that can provide these nutrients at a price that is accessible to most people in my country.

This food is a real plus for the community’s nutrition and health and available to everyone, regardless of age or sex.

Furthermore, while working on the project I mentioned above, I noticed that clients were often frustrated because we could not provide mushrooms whenever they needed it. Our production was too irregular. That motivated me to produce at a better pace so as to satisfy the growing clientele and widen it beyond the town of Kpalimé, where we have been centered so far.

Another motivation source is that I want to break the perception that mushrooms are a food for rich people or vegetarians, which will require a low-price policy to make them affordable for the average citizen.

Finally, the mushroom sector is still young in Togo. Producers are small in number, irregular and lack a bold marketing strategy. That is why the mushroom business is an opportunity to be seized immediately.

How will the business be run?

AsigbetseKale (2)To produce Pleurotus mushrooms, one needs growth medium and mycelium (which is the seed), and a closed and wet place with a temperature between 20°C and 25°C. Once poured over the substratum and packed in a sachet, the mycelium expands and starts producing mushroom fructifications (the edible mushroom) after 21-28 days.

Production goes on for 6 to 8 weeks, decreasing at the end. But before that, the growth medium has to be prepared, enriched with rice debris or sawdust and  –very importantly – sterilized. Of all the materials, mycelium is the cheapest item. If purchased regularly, it can sustain production and avoid gaps in the harvest.

The job is essentially manual and I plan to hire someone to assist me. As we grow, we will hire more people. Other people will be involved to provide the main growth medium, which is couch-grass.

The other part of the project is about selling the product. For that we will use several options: selling to individuals in offices and administrations, clients in hotels and restaurants and clients in health facilities. After some time we will rent stores equipped with refrigerators in order to preserve the mushroom, which is a perishable item.

We will also need a dryer, because dried mushroom can be conserved for a long time and some people prefer the taste.

As soon as we are capable of producing continuously, we will also conduct a media campaign to convince people that mushroom consumption is beneficial for their health. Our marketing will be also present on internet, especially through social networks.

What is already available?

So far, there is a farm in an acceptable condition that can host the production at the beginning. As soon as we make enough money, we will build a new one that is more spacious and that can resist heavy rains and winds to protect the production operation at all times. The place where we can build this new farm is also available. We also have a tank for sterilization, but it is insufficient for our purposes and can slow down the work.

What would success look like?

Success is first in the eye of clients. If they give good testimonies about the quality and the benefits of the product, then we have won part of the battle. The other part of course is financial sustainability. We consider our business successful if profits can easily compensate for the cost of production, allowing us to earn a decent livelihood and create more jobs.

How will the $5000 USD be used?

$2000 to ensure mycelium purchase for 8 months, necessary to produce continuously;
$1200 for media campaign and other marketing needs;
$1200 for 2 refrigerators and a dryer;
$250 to build the new farm;
$200 to shift the sterilization oven from wood-burning to gas;
$80 to purchase 4 new tanks;
$70 for growth medium during the first 3 months.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Kale Asigbetse (Hanyigba, Togo) – komi.kale[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #223 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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83 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #223: Commercialising Mushroom (Kale Asigbetse, Togo)

  1. Mycelium is the MOST EXPENSIVE ITEM, not the cheapest as i wrote by error. that justifies the money distribution.
    Thanks for noticing it.

    1. du courage M. Kale Asigbetse. je pense que tu fais du bon travail et tu fera davantage car tu apportes une grande quantité de complement à notre alimentation. Grace à ton projet on pourra manger bien et propre.

  2. mushrooms are popular foods for their nutrient power. In Togo men lose the habit to consume these foods because of its rarity. rarely found there. Promote their production in large quantities allow easy access but also especially encourage young people to make mushroom processing food as was the case of soybeans in Togo

  3. Good project my brother. This project will be an asset to our population in the fight against malnutrition. Courage and good luck .

  4. Congratulations brother, I wish the best and I will personnally contact you in box. See you later.

  5. That’s right! I think y’ll product a bio-mushroom! Try to do it because now there are lot of chemical products in our Town! If you advices, y’re welcome!

  6. congratulation my brother, it is a very good project.

    You have all my support and I wish you to succed.

  7. I think Mr Kale is doing a great job and can do more if he is helped! Mushroom culture is a very good one.
    Congratulation Mr Kalé! I wish you all the best!

  8. You do not need to do more effort in other to convince me to support you. Your project is simply outstanding. It needs to be backed, and i hope hearts will be touched

  9. Hello my brother! I read your project and i think it’s a best one, to congratulae. You’re going to change something great! May God give you more ideas to continue and open you every door your’ll knock to raise up this project.
    Good luck and God bless you in all your activities!

  10. Very interesting project. Nowadays we tend to forget these very basic nutrient elements which are actually very healthy. In addition this is the kind of initiative we need in our developing countries where most of the time people with high level education end up jobless without any support from governments unlike in developed countries. Good approach! I really support this project and I wish you a success!

  11. Hello dear colleague, congratulations. I’m not surprised of this initiation, since I have worked with you and I know how smart and thoughtful you are. I wish you the best.

  12. I’m very happy for initiative. I’m sure you Will find the finance.
    Congratulations….. My friend

  13. Congratulations Kale, very nice project! I believe in your determination and your capacity to succeed on this way if you find the finance.

  14. Nice project, Congratulations!I believe in your ability and determination to succeed if you find the finance. May God help you in order to realize it!

  15. I also support your project. But i think you should win more opinions or voices if you’ve allowed your friends who don’t speak english to give their own comments. I mean you don’t have only friends who speak both french and english. According to the fact that you live in a french speaking country , let french people also listen and understand your project. Once again i congratulate you

    1. Thanks. eating mushroom means to swallow quantity of nutrients at the same time. Proteins are there, as well as several mineral elements and vitamins. it’s like a naturally fortified food

  16. Fungi are known to be of pretty good food. Two questions always come to my mind on mushrooms: this is good in terms of flavor? is it available?
    After reading your project, i see you have the necessary weapons to address these concerns include the marketing and continuing producing, thus ensuring better availability and lower purchasing costs for the population. In summary,i congratulate you for your project that is not only a contribution in nutrition but also a chance to offer jobs to local people, thank you for for that and good luck.

    1. Indeed, mushrooms are very tasty and can raise whatever you cook. It’s not available at present because everything is not ready yet.
      beyond the flavor, mushroom provide nutrients, being a powerful ally against malnutrition
      Such a project well planned aims to ensure availability all the time.

  17. For me it verry good project and all have to support him. It what we need in our continent , guys who trust they are job and making they are dream truth. all the best

  18. Your project sounds very good. I really hope you will get the financial support to make it happenned. All the best for your project.

  19. Sounds like a great idea! But I think justifying your project using figures and pictures can be more convincing!

  20. Great venture. Africa is rising. Gone were the days when Agriculture was considered a dirty profession. Keep up. This is in fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goal 2.

  21. Je suis tres fiere du projet, SVP prenez le courage et soutenez notre frere et ami pour que dans moins d’ un an ca devienne une grande entreprise de production

  22. Very good project. In Africa particulary sub sahara africa has to fight aigainst malnutrition. The use of mushroom as biofortification of food is urgent
    thank kale Asigbetse, good job.

  23. Good project my bro! Not only you for malnutrition but also for workless. almighty God will help you in it realisation.

  24. Good project my bro! Not only you fight for malnutrition but also for workless. almighty God will help you in it realisation.

    1. Thanks. Of course starting a project and making it sustainable are 2 things, especially in agriculture. As we sell, the most important part of our income will be reinvest (in growth medium and Mycelium purchase) to make sure we can produce the next month. then in the same time that we sell, we keep working on the production. It will be such a pace, but it is the condition if we want to sell the next month and so forth.

  25. Felicitation pour ce projet plein d’avenir. J’espere qu’il fera l’unanimite afin qu’il soit tres grand et qu’il atteigne son pic en theme d’evolution.

  26. Une tres bonne initiative. Cela permmettra a la population togolaise et environnante de manger bio. Supportons ce projet pour une tres bonne alimentatuon de tous

  27. Great innovation
    This has potential to uplift people out of poverty.
    It can also fight malnutrition which is a problem here in Africa.
    You are right marketing is very costly because it costs money to sell an idea, and people need to buy into it.
    I however, only have two questions/suggestions.
    Is this Program duplicable? So that we move it into other African countries since it is cost-effective?
    Second, do you have plans long term wise to include solar technology and cut down costs since it requires refrigerators and gas ovens?
    Furthermore, whatever help you need from us fellow youth don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
    #YALI

  28. C’est un magnifique projet. Le champignon est tres utilisé par les togolais. Elle est utilisé pour plusieur mets. Elle est tellement demandé pour beaucoup de vertus scientifiquement prouvé et se fait tres rare su le marché.

  29. Félicitation pour ce projet.C’ est une très bonne initiative,cela contribuera dans le développement de notre continent dans plusieurs domaine.que vous ayez le soutien nécessaire pour l’élargissement de ce projet.

  30. Dear colleague, I trust in you since we have together studies at University , I know you will success in this business. wishes the best to you.

  31. félicitation mon Frere il y a peu de gens qui mettent en application les connaissances que nous avons reçu a la fac. je t’encourage vivement

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