Volume 17 Part 1 Article 30: Easy and Low-Cost Methods of Spawn Production for Poverty Alleviation in Small-Scale Farmers in Less-Developed Countries

Volume 17 Part 1 Article 30
Year 2008
Title: Easy and Low-Cost Methods of Spawn Production for Poverty Alleviation in Small-Scale Farmers in Less-Developed Countries
Authors: Kyung Wha Choi and Hyunjong Kwon

Abstract:

Finding reliable sources of spawn is one of the biggest challenges faced by mushroom growers in less developed countries. Spawn sources are very rare in rural areas and, if available, are usually very expensive for them and highly susceptible to contamination. Easy and low-cost spawn production methods are required for profitable mushroom farming to assist poverty alleviation.

There is little formal literature on this topic relating to less-developed countries. This paper reviews some scientific papers, but mostly reports from farmers and extension workers, farm visits and questionnaires in such countries. The cases of MushWorld Invitation Training participants from these regions are highlighted, where they successfully applied the knowledge acquired in the program to mushroom production in their own countries.
The secret of low-cost and less-contaminated spawn lies in spawn substrate, simplified equipment and contaminant inhibitors. Among various materials locally available, sawdust is very effective, cheap and accessible as spawn substrate material for many mushrooms except for button mushroom. It can be used in place of grain, which is expensive and easily contaminated. As to equipment, for minimal cost, the gas or electricity-powered autoclave can be replaced by a sawdust-fuelled oil-drum steam generator, and a clean bench can be improvised using a UV lamp and a HEPA filter. In addition, locally available anti-contaminants are used.

A comparison of these approaches with the standard method in terms of cost and contamination rate is given. The paper provides the know-how to make low-cost and pathogen-free spawn for poverty-stricken small-scale farmers in developing regions.

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