Mushroom has long been so beloved by Ghanaians that the wild ones have been far from satisfying their growing appetite. This, for some, means a golden business opportunity.
Fafape Ama Etsa Foe, a young Ghanaian female accountant in her thirties, identified the gap and the potential in the product and abandoned her profession six years ago to veer into mushroom farming to respond to the growing demand of the Ghanaian market by establishing E90 Ghana Limited in 2015.
With an initial production of 10 polythene bags containing sawdust mixed with rice bran and quicklime on an abandoned shoe rag, she has now been able to expand her farm and is now producing over 50,000 bags per month hence earning the name “Ghana’s mushroom queen.”
She told Xinhua in an interview upon a visit to her farm located at Ogbojo, a suburb near Accra, that she was motivated to go into mushroom farming due to its huge potential.
“Taking care of the waste that we have in the environment by helping to take the sawdust that we have at the sawmills and then using that as the substrate for the production of one of the world’s richest protein foods,” she said, adding that the opportunity also offers employment to others, including women and youths.
Owing to the positive contribution Fafape has made over the years, she won awards including the best farmer 2018 from the Adenta Municipality in 2018. She was also sponsored by the European Union to visit China where she learned how mushrooms were cultivated in China.
She said her trip to China where a mushroom-farming industry was booming bolstered her confidence in expanding her own business in Ghana.
“When it comes to the economic benefits that it gives me as the entrepreneur, I must say confidently that I have earned well in mushroom farming,” she said. “I am happy that I am a mushroom farmer and a mushroom queen.”
The commercialization of the product, according to her, has increased the appetite of Ghanaians due to the health benefits with the consumption of mushrooms.
“I believe growing this on a commercial basis has given Ghanaians the opportunity to taste more of mushroom or see more of mushrooms. The market is picking up gradually, you know with the increase and lifestyle-related diseases, people are becoming aware of eating healthy and mushrooms play a critical role when it comes to putting good food into our bodies,” she explained.
“People are beginning to be aware that mushrooms are not just something to enjoy occasionally,” she said, adding that it was an exciting time for the mushroom industry as the demand continues to grow.
Despite the remarkable improvement over the years regarding output, Fafape also shares some of her challenges as a mushroom farmer.
“One of our key challenges is getting the technology in order to speed up the work,” she said. “We want to have our own laboratory that can produce everything in house so the process will flow smoothly.”
Hoping to attract more people in her business, Fafape said she hopes the Ghanaian government will take a critical look at the industry as it could offer employment to people.
Fafape also advised graduates and other unemployed people to look at opportunities around them and take advantage of them.
“I am getting my gold in mushroom farming and I know you will also get yours as well,” she said. Enditem