I am Brian Vegah Viyof, 35, from Babanki Tungoh Village in Cameroon. I hold a Master of Science in Agroforestry from the University of Yaounde, and a BSc in Geography/Environmental Management from the University of Dschang.
My project seeks to promote the cultivation of mushrooms and organic vegetables. This is aimed at introducing farmers, youth groups, and students to mushroom and organic vegetable cultivation.
Trainees will use slurry from bio-gas system and poultry manure to grow vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, parsley, celery and cabbages. Mushrooms and vegetables will be harvested, processed, package, and sold in the first-ever organic vegetable shop in Buea.
Income generated will be re-invested in the venture to train more farmers and students, to build a strong network of mushroom and organic vegetable producers. As of now, women’s groups, students, and retired workers have signed up for the mushroom programme and the women empowerment centre has also provided a space for the mushroom and organic vegetable farm.
My motivation stems from the fact that mushroom cultivation is underdeveloped in my country and community. Mushrooms are very scarce and often harvested in the wild once a year with cultivation techniques not well disseminated.
Mushroom cultivation is very lucrative: 1 kg of fresh mushrooms sells at FCFA 3,500–4,000, approximately USD 7–8, and 1 kg of dried mushrooms sell at FCFA 7,000, approximately $14. A bottle of mushroom spores sell at FCFA 1,000, approximately USD 2.
Moreover, mushrooms are grown using agricultural waste like corn cobs, palm cones, sawdust, rice husk, rice bran, etc. Mushrooms are a short-cycle crop with harvest available in a month, and can be associated with vegetables like broccoli, carrots, parsley, celery and cabbages, which have a three-month cycle.
From my first trial, a lot of people showed interest in the mushroom vegetable pack that I created. So, increasing the farm by training other farmers will increase productivity and provide income to the network of farmers.
To achieve my goals, I will train farmers, youths, and students in mushroom cultivation. This training will last for two days with a farm set up at the end of the training. Trained participants will be followed up after seven days of training to make sure that individual farms are set up.
All participants will be given 20 bottles of mushroom spores to start up a farm of 60 substrates with a 30 kg production capacity per harvest. After one month, farms will be monitored and fruiting bodies (mushrooms) will be harvested, weighed, and registered to each farmer’s name and payments made.
Meanwhile, organic vegetable farms will also be monitored in due course, but results from these organic farms will be expected only after three months. So, mushrooms will be conserved fresh in the frost-free freezer and sold at the shop. After three months, vegetables will be harvested, washed, and processed into bits and placed in plastic packs, frozen, and sold in the shop
As of now, I have secured a place where a mushroom spore multiplication unit will be set up with a production capacity of 5000 bottles of seeds. I have 3 small mushroom farms and have trained students and women’s groups with 20 of them ready to start up a mushroom farm.
Ten women and youths are ready to start up small organic vegetable farms but we need to purchase good seeds from a certified supplier in Bamenda. I have also produced a training manual, a brochure, participated in the regional agricultural show, where I won first prize in mushroom cultivation, and have a list of farmers who have signed up for training.
The stakes for the success of my project is high (95 %). Raw materials needed for the project are found locally. I carry out spore multiplication from mother culture imported from USA. I don’t need to hire any skilled labour to implement the project. Mushroom cultivation does not require a large space like other agricultural activities.
A minimum of 1 x 2 m shelving is enough to jump-start my project. A couple of these shelves can be placed around. Vegetable seeds are found locally in stores. Material for the development of mushroom substrate is locally available. Organic manure from poultry and bio-gas is available locally.
My success will be measured by:
- The number of mushroom and organic vegetable farms installed
- The number of farmers trained and the number of new farmers signing up for the training
- A functional organic vegetable shop with vegetable pack in the freezer
- The number of customers placing orders per day and per week
- A functional spore multiplication unit and the number of spawn produced and sold
I will use the USD 5,000 grant as shown below:
- Installation of one spore production unit in the Buea town will cost USD 1,000 to be realized between April 1st to May 30th 2016
- Purchase of three frost free freezer and vegetable inputs will cost USD 1,500 to be realized between 1st to 30th July 2016
- Two training sessions on mushroom and organic vegetable cultivation will cost USD 500 from April 26th to May 15th 2016
- Installation of one sales point (organic vegetable shop) will cost USD 1,200 to be realized between 1st to 30th July 2016
- Acquisition of harvesting, parcelling, branding, and documentation at USD 800 from May 30th to June 30th 2016
Blogpost and picture submitted by Brian Vegah Viyof (Cameroon): infocedepcm[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #224 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.
As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:
- Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
- Support the post by clicking the “Like” button below (only possible for those with a com account)
- Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3
Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project.
Check out the side column for our current sponsors. “YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.