Farmers in southern Sierra Leone benefit from cassava value chain training

By Tiva Ansumana in Bo

Twenty-four (24) farmers from six farming groups drawn from Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba and Pujehun districts have a concluded a three days training course on cassava value chain Actorson Mushroom cultivation,  using cassava byproducts, at the Muamia  Women’s  Cooperative   Centre in Koribondo, Jaiama Bongor chiefdom, in Bo  district.

The training was organised by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA) in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), and was geared towards teaching farmers new innovation and ideas in straw mushroom production valuable for consumers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, a representative for the Bo District Agriculture Officer, Abu Bakarr Sidikie Conteh maintained that his ministry has a duty to collaborate with partners to sensitise farmers on food valued chain.

He praised ITTA for organising the training on cultivation methods aimed at growing medicinal mushrooms, using cassava by products.

He encouraged the trainees to inculcate the skills and training methods learned during the three days exercise.

In her presentation, facilitator Mrs. Deborah L. Narh Mensah, a research scientist at CSIR-Food Research Institute in Ghana, delivered a presentation on the substrate preparation, bed presentation and inoculation, incubation and harvesting.

Madam Mensah, encouraged the farmers to work hard as the raw materials required for the mushroom production are easily available in their communities and expressed hope that the mushroom business would thrive.

Natural Resources Manager and Agronomist at ITTA, Sylvanus Fannah  maintained that ITTA has been closely working with farming groups,  especially in communities where cassava processing factories have been established.

He expressed hope that the farmers would continue to benefit from food value addition trainings, and encouraged the beneficiaries to utilise the knowledge gained and put to proper use the spawns received.

He further disclosed that they have a close working relationship with the University of Sierra Leone to establish a laboratory for the preparation of the mushroom spawn (seeds) towards the end of this year.

Senior Technologist at CSIR–Food Research Institute of Ghana, Richard K. Takli, distributed mushroom spawn (seeds) to the respective farmers groups.