Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Low-cost oyster mushroom production technology
Explain your project in details:
PROJECT PURPOSED To provide rural communities particularly those in semi-arid regions with an alternative low-cost food production technology that enables them to produce nutritious oyster mushroom for both their own use and income generation. Impact of climatic change in semi-arid regions makes crop production difficult using conventional agricultural production system. There is a national drive by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF) for various agriculture stakeholders to develop Climate Smart Agriculture that would enable farmers to adapt to the harsh climatic conditions. Therefore, this project will make available an affordable a Starter Pack for mushroom production suitable for most climate conditions including semi-arid regions which would be made up of Mushroom spawn, Production Chambers/Domes (with Humidifying Units), Training material for use in the training of farmers. Objectives - To provide a low-cost technology to enable the production of oyster mushrooms (Humidified Mushroom Growth Chambers/Domes) - To provide access of mushrooms to consumers and rural communities at a lower cost - To address challenges of malnutrition and food security - To establish spawn production and mushroom structures to allow sufficient capacity to supply retailers - To address poverty alleviation and unemployment rate by providing employment to youth and women Beneficiaries Through the production of oyster mushrooms, institutions such as Department of Social Development and Health will be able to address challenges of malnutrition and food security. Potential consumers will be able to purchase oyster mushrooms at a lower price. Furthermore, a Factory established to commercially produce Humidified Mushroom Growth Chambers will create employment opportunities. These Humidified Mushroom Growth Chambers can also be exported to sub-Saharan region earning the country Foreign Currency. Other enterprises that can be generated as spin-offs from this project is Food Processing ventures such as manufacturing of mushroom soaps, mushroom noodles, and mushroom biscuits.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
POTENTIAL FOR NATIONAL BENEFIT OF THE OUTCOMES OF THE PROJECT The Low-Cost Mushroom Technology will enable smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions to utilize agriculture farm waste to produce a nutritious oyster mushroom. Adoption of this technology by the rural poor will capacitate them with skills and knowledge to develop rural based bio-entrepreneurship. This initiative would contribute to the governments rural development programme that seeks to establish agriculture enterprises that would create employment in the rural areas and thereby curbing rural-urban migration. This technology will contribute to the household food security by both directly contributing the provision of protein source and supply of essential elements such as Fe, Zn and K and generating income. Furthermore, the technology will also be used to demonstrate the value added to horticultural produce. Value addition through processing of mushroom to various products such as solar dried mushroom, soups and mushroom noodles would be a vehicle for the development of a rural-based small-scale agro-based industry.
Sustainability and future plans
SUSTAINABILITY A Mushroom hub will be established and this hub will be responsible for the following activities: (i) Distribution of Mushroom Domes (ii) Local Production of spawn (iii) Coordinate mushroom production (iv) Coordinate product quality control (grading, packaging, storage and post-harvest processing). (v) Coordinate Marketing. In order to have a Sustainable Community Based Enterprise the project will have to establish a Revolving Fund. This Revolving Fund will be controlled and used by the local farmers who would be organized into a legal entity such as a Community Trust. The project will be closely monitored by project managers and consultation will be determined if there is a need for the technical aspect of production. MONITORING: will be done in all activities. This will be an ongoing assessment of how well activities are being performed. Monthly, quarterly and annual reports; supervisory meetings, performance management system and a weekly plan will be used to monitor the progress. EVALUATION: the impact of mushrooms production will be evaluated in every cycle of an enterprise. Level of production and generated income will be used as a tool to measure the progress. The Project Innovators will determine the impact of the project based on the reduction of poverty and unemployment.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Sydwell Sihlangu is an agricultural professional scientist aged 32 and has several years of experience in the field and horticultural crops. Sydwell holds a B. Sc. degree in Agriculture and an M. Sc. Degree in Crop Science with a research focus in horticulture. The output from this work was the development of a low-cost mushroom production technology that is appropriate for smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions. The research work received nationwide coverage with over thirteen media houses reporting on it. Southern African Bioscience Network (SANBIO) were impressed with the work and awarded Mr. Sihlangu with a visiting Grant to enable him to visit Regional Mushroom Node which is based at the University of Namibia. SANBIO further financed and supported his training on Innovation Readiness Series that is conducted by The University of Texas at Austin (USA). Sydwell was also awarded the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States and European Union (ACP-EU) funding to attend a Regional workshop in Scientific Writing and Communication, Harare-Zimbabwe. He recently won the Best Researched Journal in Scientific Innovation (2017 Provincial Youth Awards in Agriculture North-West Province)