5 Apr, 2018

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The participants packing substrate in plastic bags during the training
The Horticulture Department at LUANAR organised training in mushroom production to equip lecturers from Nalikule College and staff from Department of Agriculture at Machinga District Council with knowledge on how they can grow mushrooms for consumption and commercial purposes, and also help others in mushroom production.

The training which also included two individual farmers ran from Tuesday, the 3rd of April to Wednesday, the 4th of April 2018 at LUANAR Bunda campus.
This has come at the right time when many have raised concerns over influx of unqualified people offering mushroom production training across the country. .

LUANAR had received a request from Nalikule College to offer them training mushroom production. In response to this, the Department of Horticulture decided to extend the service to Machinga District Council and also included some other individual farmers.

In his remarks at the official opening of the training, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Dr. Patsani Kumambala, said LUANAR has experts in mushroom production. He said as a research institution, LUANAR is there to solve problems that the society is facing hence extending its outreach services.

“We are researchers and we know what is there on the ground in terms of mushroom production. Therefore this training will provide the participants with knowledge on how to produce mushrooms.,” He said.

Dr. Kumambala thanked the Department for organising the training and hoped that it will do more in outreach services.

Speaking in an interview, one of the facilitators, Dr. Vincent Mgoli Mwale, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Agriculture and senior lecturer in the Department, said the training has been successful and they expect a lot from them.

“There are several things that we are expecting from these participants. The group from Nalikule College will use this information to train other teachers as well as farmers whom they may encounter. The other group will use the skills they have attained here to start the enterprise of mushroom production,” said Dr. Mwale.

Dr. Mwale said this is the first step of making people aware that they can come to LUANAR to learn how to grow mushroom instead of using dubious people who can steal their money.

“We will try as much as we can to spread information to people that instead of using people who can steal their money or cheat them that they offer mushroom production training, they should come to us as an institution and not as individuals. We are making efforts to reach several people to get information on how we can grow mushrooms in a civilized manner,” He added.

One of the participants, Omex Tebulo from Department of Agriculture at Machinga District Council, said they have benefitted a lot from the workshop.
He said as a change agent in his community, he is sure that he will help others improve their livelihoods through mushroom farming either for food production or commercial purposes.

The participants underwent a two day intensive training in oyster and button mushroom production, facilitated by Dr. V. Mgoli Mwale and Dr. Alfred Chioza. The first day of the training was theory where the participants learnt how to produce the mushroom varieties, and the second was practical.