The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has pledged to spearhead the promotion of mushroom consumption as well as strengthening the support to growers in the country.
The promise was made at a meeting organised for stakeholders of the First Mushroom Growers Industry in Accra.
A speech read for the Director of Crops Services Department of MOFA, Dr Kwame Amezah at the opening session of the day’s meeting, said: “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the attainment of food security, as well as the promotion of good health and the environmental sustainability and knowing very well the health benefits of mushrooms, there is the need for us to support mushroom growers in Ghana in all aspects”.
The event, organised by the Mushroom Growers and Exporters Association of Ghana in collaboration with Gem Consultancy based in the United Kingdom and the Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), a non-governmental organisation, was attended by more than 30 participants across the country.
Dr Amezah explained that mushrooms were very important because they grown fast, need relatively lower and cheaper inputs to produce, have a high market value, limited space to produce and could be produced all year round.
Enumerating the numerous health benefits of mushrooms, Dr Amezah said the plant had a host of defence potentiators that help the body to strengthen itself and fight illnesses by restoring the bodies balance and natural resistance to diseases.
“Mushrooms also possess other nutritional and health benefits that have led to the development of new drugs over the past 50 years for a broad range of diseases including cancer, HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other respiratory infections,” he said.
Dr Amezah noted that mushrooms had also become a bioremediation to improve the environment and were sources of useful dietary supplements that could boost the immune functions in the immune-compromised individuals.
He assured of the Ministry’s role in the implementation of all decisions that would emanate from the meeting to promote mushroom industry in Ghana.
Dr Kwaku Ahenkora and Ms Esther Adjei of Gem Consultancy, commended Ghana’s Mushroom Growers for their initiative to collaborate and assured them of their continuous support for the growth of the industry.
A needs assessment research conducted by CEDEP revealed that mushrooms had huge potentials that were untapped due to lack of awareness creation.
It also revealed a limited technical know-how in the industry, lack of record keeping among the growers, which made it very difficult for them to access financial assistance from the banks.
Reverend Tehophilus K. Quartey, National President of the Association outlined numerous challenges which included lack of governmental support, packaging equipment, technical know-how and open market.
He called for more collaboration with all the needed stakeholders to move the industry forward.