Food insecurity, poverty, malnutrition, pollution caused by waste and lack of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities are all eminent challenges faced by the world. The situation is worse in areas of sub Saharan Africa such as East African. Moreover, in Tanzania Poverty and food insecurity are the main drivers of chronic under-nutrition. And this Chronic under nutrition is the greatest contributor to under-5 mortality and is estimated to cost the country 2.65 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to lost revenues from poor cognitive and physical development in early life. It is caused primarily by inadequate access to a diverse and quality diet and poor feeding practices at home. Also, the economically underprivileged urban communities in Tanzania live without enough to feed or to satisfy their physiological needs especially the micro-nutrient. These communities are resource deprived as they struggle to meet their immediate necessities. Such scenario is also contributed by the level of unemployment in Tanzania whereby for the youth is estimated to be over 60 percent. With regard to this background we have identified the opportunities in mushrooms cultivation as the best means to tackle the above mentioned problems. And this is driven by their bio-conversion ability of turning organic wastes to be a mushrooms substrate and at the same time makes money in selling of those mushrooms.
Therefore, we are proposing to establish a Network for Urban Mushrooms farms that will use urban agricultural wastes, residues or industrial by products for production of spawn (mushroom), production of fresh and dried mushroom, mushroom kits preparation as well as training of people on mushroom production aspects and processing mushroom into different products.
The proposed agricultural wastes are paddy straws, rice bran, and sisal waste from farmers and hardwood sawdust from urban carpentry workshop as well as dried chicken manure for mushrooms substrate preparation. Then the harvested mushrooms will be processed into chips using industrial dehydrators. The mushroom chips will be packaged for sale to households and other market in Tanzania at affordable prices. Our aim is to ensure every individual in Tanzania have access to quality protein at cheaper prices, compared to the high cost of animal protein. On other side, we will also produce tonnes of fertile compost that will be used to improve local soils and provide employment for local unemployed people who carry out a training program alongside working on the project. Therefore, at the end the Urban Mushroom Farm Network will deliver a steady supply of local, healthy and nutritious food to the community, fertile compost to the soil, and training for the unemployed - all from an urban waste stream!
We are expecting to organize a lot of workshops as our spreading strategies for training the community especially unemployed youth on modern mushroom production and processing. Through the replication by the youths, more food will be produced, more households will be fed and more jobs will be created.
Who will benefit?
- Farmers will earn additional income for selling agricultural waste materials that would otherwise be discarded and cause environmental pollution.
- Businesses will save money for their waste disposal costs e.g. carpentry, milling machine etc This is because in Urban area It has been expensive to send food waste to landfill, and there are often considerable fees to have food waste disposed of through more environmentally friendly alternatives
- The public will benefit from reduced food waste as they cause a huge environmental problem. Rotting food produces methane which contributes to climate change which affects us all.
- Jobs creation and Provision of additional revenue source. The project will provide direct employment for individuals who will work with our network of Urban mushrooms farm and also will acts as a driving force in increasing community’s revenue for the unemployed individuals and others who will be trained and start their own mushroom cultivation venture.
- Consumers will enjoy affordable mushrooms which is sustainable, nutritious and delicious!