A professor of botany, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Sami Ayodele has charged farmers, youths to explore mushroom cultivation.
Speaking in Abuja during the 22nd inaugural lecture of the institution with the Topic “Mushrooms: Friends or Foes,”he said mushrooms stand tall amongst other vegetables due to their high medicinal and nutritional content that can deal with micronutrient malnutrition which is prevalent among the less privileged in society.
“The global demand for mushrooms has continued to increase significantly according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report and the market for mushrooms is also huge and growing exponentially,” he said.
According to the Don, if attention is given to mushroom cultivation, it can offer a lot of hope by contributing significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“It is safe to declare that Nigeria can earn as much as N1 trillion naira annually if the sector is properly developed.
“The mushroom sub-sector, along the value chain, if properly developed and managed, could provide 30 million skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs for the teeming unemployed graduates, vulnerable youths and women.”
The lecturer called for regular conferences and workshops by mushroom scientists to sensitise the Nigerian public about the new trends in mushroom cultivation and its potential for food security.
Ayodele said mushrooms are rich sources of protein, fibre, vitamins, and carbohydrates which are suitable for patients with heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, mushrooms contain special ingredients that help prevent cancer and other life-threatening medical conditions, adding that they can be used to treat headaches, stomach aches, fever, colds, mumps, and heart disease.
He noted that mushrooms play a role in reducing environmental pollution by converting and utilising organic wastes generated through activities of agricultural, forest, and food processing industries.