By Mercy Omoike
A university lecturer, Prof. Sami Ayodele, has called for more awareness on the cultivation of mushroom following its inherent revenue generation potential.
Ayodele, a professor of Botanical Science at the National Open University (NOUN), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to him, mushroom is one of the most neglected parts of agriculture especially in Nigeria.
He said that farmers focus mainly on cultivation of common crops such as rice, beans, yam and cassava, among others.
Ayodele urged farmers to diversify into mushroom cultivation to boost revenue cultivation.
“We should not just concentrate on cocoa, cassava, yam and the rest; mushroom cultivation should be given priority.
“There are other crops just like mushrooms that have been neglected that can earn Nigeria a lot of money.
“If the mushroom sector is well-developed it can earn Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange,” he said.
Ayodele added that some Asian countries rely on this neglected agro-commodity for consumption and export to earn revenue for the country.
He said that Nigerian farmers should take a cue from Asian countries and cultivate more mushrooms which could increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product to trillion annually if the sector was well developed.
“China, Russia and even some other parts of the United States of America embark on mushroom cultivation which earn them a lot of foreign exchange apart from local consumption,” he said.
Ayodele also reiterated the need for nutritional and health benefits of mushroom, stressing that there was the need for increase in mushroom cultivation in the country.
He also called for more awareness on mushroom cultivation in order to popularise its cultivation and consumption among Nigerians.
The don said that mushroom could be used for management of chronic diseases such as cancer and HIV, among others.
He expressed dissatisfaction that mushroom cultivation was being neglected in Nigeria.
“The protein content in mushrooms can be compared to that of beef and fish which is very expensive for the less privileged people to buy.
“Mushrooms are very affordable and everybody can also embark on the its cultivation, because it is not hard to cultivate.
“You can even cultivate mushrooms in the comfort of your home if you know how do to it,’’ Ayodele said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma