Our mushroom project is quite a complex one which is developing rapidly thanks to the exchange of knowledge between the UK and Uganda. The team in Uganda have been growing mushrooms since June 2012. They are delicious, high in protein, really easy to grow, high yielding and a cheaper more nutritious alternative to meat. However, after the fruiting season (3 months) of our mushrooms had finished, we had to spend lots of our profits on buying the next lot of mushroom spore to start the process again.
Thanks to help from Charlie Fraser and Max Coulter, Mwenya is now the proud owner of a basic microbiology laboratory which is used to reproduce mushrooms and produce the spore that we were previously purchasing.
This means we are able to produce bottles of mushroom spore which we can sell for a low price to community members wishing to start up a mushroom growing business. The guardians who look after our registered Orphans and Vulnerable Children receive mushroom start up kits for free from our laboratory.
All the mushrooms are sold to Uganda Mushroom Cultivators Ltd (UMC), a co-operative group which works very closely to Mwenya. Mwenya rides round to all the small hold farms to collect the mushrooms on our Boda Boda (motorbike) and bring them back to Mpigi. Each farmer receives a fair price for the mushrooms they have produced. Without Mwenya or the co-operative it would not be possible for many of our farmers to make a profit from mushrooms since they are producing a relatively small amount and live in rural areas away from the clients.
UMC buys the mushrooms from the farmers and then sells them on to hotels and restaurants in Kampala. Thanks to our Enactus marketing team, we now have regular clients in the capital city and a Ugandan marketing team who are able to continue expanding the client base and income of UMC.
Mwenya is also a share holder in UMC, therefore the better UMC does, the more income Mwenya receives.
UMC and Mwenya are working together to create innovative new mushroom products for the market while encouraging people to try mushrooms as an alternative to meat since it saves the customer money and is more nutritious.