Tackling unemployment through the mushroom cultivation: Adeline's story
For over 3 years, Adeline UMUKUNZI, a young lady who has been cultivating mushrooms in Musanze District, Northern Province of Rwanda. Her company helps to equip farmers with mushrooms cultivation skills and also help in fighting against malnutrition and poverty.
After completing secondary school in 2018, Adeline visited Imbaraga Farmers’ Organization located in Musanze to find out what they are doing; she saw farmers cultivating different crops and found that doing other farming apart from mushroom cultivation is very expensive.
“I met someone who was cultivating mushroom then told me what is needed to cultivate mushrooms, I started my business with 50 000Rwf as capital, and I got the opportunity where my project operates; people who used to buy mushrooms in the town (Musanze) became my clients; This is where the idea of mushroom farming came from, now I have the company called Irebe Social Development Ltd” said Adeline UMUKUNZI.
Adeline helped and taught 12 youth (women and girls) how to cultivate mushrooms, and they also made a group, so far they have a bank account in SACCO for saving, moreover, they help each other in their activities.
The first challenges she was faced is the mushrooms market and transport, and also the limited knowledge of mushroom skills, these challenges have caused less mushroom production but she approached those skilled in mushroom for advice.
“Before covid 19, I could have harvested 400kg of mushrooms, the arrival of the covid19 led to a reduction in mushroom production and I lost the workers that I was using, I started to harvest between 250,200 and 150 kg but after staying home I got the support of a car for transporting mushroom production to my clients for free, now mushroom production started to increase to 300 kg” Adeline said
Adeline started making snacks from mushroom which they eat immediately; she is still doing researching mushroom snacks how they will last for a long time
Adeline’s advice to her fellow youth; is to dare and they see that what others are doing that they too can do it, she urges them to not be afraid of doing agribusiness and letting negative perceptions they have about the agriculture and do it professionally, and also they should not forget to save for a small amount of money that they earn.