End 2020 we received a second Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation: “MUSHROOM FARMER ASSOCIATIONS & RESOURCE HUBS”. This Global Grant (GG), initiated by Rotary Santpoort (The Netherlands) as International Club and Rotary Harare City as Host Club, is after an implementation period of 3 years now succesfully completed. 

This new Global Grant is a follow-up to TFoHF’s "Orphans Teach Orphans" program which was implemented from 2016-2017. At that time a training centre was set up at Christon Bank near Harare. And, through a train-the-trainers program, 525 vulnerable women and girls in 20 communities in Zimbabwe were trained.

The success of that first GG led to other partnerships in which many more people were trained (eg. UNDP’s Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (under the Sizimele Consortium) and the World Food Programme (WFP)'s Peri-Urban Support Program).

This new GG secures and expands on the results obtained so far and is meant to establish a sustainable infrastructure for the mushroom farmers. Having this infrastructure enables them to improve the quality and value of their produce and increase productivity.

Mushroom farmer associations are now established in 7 districts across Zimbabwe. Three of these districts are in Matabeleland (Insiza, Matobo, Bulawayo/Mzilikazi), three are in Mashonaland (Harare South, Chitungwiza and Mazowe), and one is in Manicaland (Chipinge). In Bulawayo and Harare South, mushroom farmer associations have already been set up as part of a project sponsored by the WFP. In the other 5 districts the associations were yet to be set up.

Each association will have a resource hub, which consists of a Fungiculture dealership as well as a Mushroom grow-kit production centre.

Mushroom farmers, dealership managers and association leaders are trained in a variety of subjects. This includes leadership training to empower elected committee members with the tools necessary to manage the associations successfully, entrepreneurship for imparting skills necessary for successful business management, conflict management to address group dynamics and financial literacy to equip beneficiaries with skills in record keeping and how to do forecasting and production planning.

The associations and their well-trained members form a grassroots structure to foster innovative approaches to mushroom farming. Data about activities at all levels within the associations are assembled and monitored by the TFoHF staff in order to establish fruitful feedback loops.

The project also supports efforts to strengthen market linkages. This will enable household farmers to access markets and obtain a good price for their produce. If market prices are low, solar dryers offer the opportunity to dry the mushrooms and sell them later, or even export dried mushrooms, rather than having to sell at low prices.

The direct beneficiaries of this global grant are 600 local household farmers and their families.  Every household has an average of 4 family members (ZIMSTAT 2022), working together and benefiting from the mushroom production. This brings the number of direct economic beneficiaries to 2400.

In addition to the household farmers and their families, there are other direct beneficiaries, benefiting from education. The Global Grant has to train 330 Association leaders, Fungiculture dealers and IFPS officers through the various interventions.

The fungiculture dealerships are also provided with fungiculture production materials and equipment to commence selling inputs to growers within their districts reducing distance travelled and time spent in aggregation of production inputs.

The project has a multiplier effect by providing employment along the whole mushroom production value chain. Suppliers and customers also benefit from the grant. The project turns abundantly available agricultural waste into mushrooms, a tasty protein-rich food for everyone. Ultimately, the whole community benefits, in a minimum of 70 wards throughout the 7 districts.

Global Grant 2096417 was initiated by Rotary Santpoort (District 1580) as International Club and Rotary Harare City (District 9210) as Host Club. The following Rotary clubs have contributed to the Grant: Allschwil, Beveren Waas, Bloemendaal, Bonn-Siegburg, Bornheim and Keerbergen.


Message published on
14/02/2024 - 16:38

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