CAMEROON – Cameroon’s fresh produce sector is set to expand from the current plans by the government to bolster local mushroom production through the Support Program for the Development of the Edible Mushroom Sector.
The subject was at the heart of the fourth steering committee of this sector, which was chaired in Yaoundé by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gabriel Mbairobe.
“This project has made it possible to select varieties that can be grown in our country and has made it possible to train young people who have settled in in Douala, Bafoussam, Obala and Nkometou,” said Mbairobe.
“As it is a source of employment for young people and women, it is a question for us of putting in place conditions so that the cultivation of the mushroom can really develop given that itis a food that has many virtues.”
The session’s discussions focused on a variety of factors, including the reorientation of the major components of sector development, specifically production and marketing.
Production and marketing according to the committee, is crucial for enhancing visibility of myciculture (the cultivation of edible mushrooms) in Cameroon.
Systems for improved supervision and empowerment of farmers interested in cultivating this crop were also discussed by the committee.
Introduced to Cameroon in the 1980s, mushroom production has not yet been fully embraced in the country, with current local production at around 45 tons per year.
According to a report published by Journal Issues, Cameroon lacks a critical mass of scientists to undertake serious research on the commercialization of the affluent mushroom biodiversity.
“The government must aggressively recruit, train, and retain a critical mass of scientists to lead the process towards developing a thriving mushroom farming and processing industry in the country,” outlines the report.
The report further outlines that edible mushrooms are in the local markets currently being sold in Douala, Cameroon, but these are imported from China, Japan and the USA by businessmen and women and are too expensive for most Cameroonians.
The local production, however, is poised to expand with thousands of oyster mushrooms currently being grown by the Groupe Initiatives Communes (GIC Champignon), a mushroom growing project in Bafoussam.
“A kilo is sold for 2,000 CFA francs (equivalent to 3 euros), while it costs up to 3,500 in Yaoundé, the capital, or Douala, the economic capital,” explained Jean-Claude Youbi, one of the founders of the project.
The global mushroom market, according to Statista, was valued at USD 50.3 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% from 2022 to 2030.
The growing population of vegans worldwide, who are seeking a diet rich in protein, is expected to be a significant factor driving the market during the forecast period.
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