On Thursday 5th June 2014 marked the beginning of the 9th Agri-Show that ran until 12 June. The weeklong event is annually held at Mulindi Agri-Show grounds located in Gasabo district. The event ran on the theme "Transforming Agriculture for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.” The Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, officially opened the event on the 6th. The 2014 Agri-Show brought together up to 150 exhibitors from 9 countries including all the 5 East African countries, Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, India, France and USA. Kigali Farms, among other exhibitors, was at the Agrishow with products for sale and most importantly information about how to grow mushrooms for wealth and health purposes.
Similar to the 2014 Agrishow theme, Kigali Farms is a social enterprise situated to contribute to the welfare of the public through teaching local farmers, organizations and institutions how to grow and make profits with oyster mushroom cultivation. At booth number 34, the Kigali farms team dressed in bright yellow T- shirts and khaki caps were busy serving visitors with lots of information and oyster mushroom products. The booth was fully stocked with mushroom tubes, dried and powdered mushrooms and the special Grow-It-Yourself kits, which serve as an introduction to mushroom cultivation for first time growers of the funghi.
Unlike other mushroom dealers at the exhibition, Kigali Farms displayed a model house where oyster mushrooms are grown. This helped illustrate to local farmers what mushroom growing looks like. Most of the farmers were amazed by the number of mushroom tubes that can be planted per square meter, which are 45 tubes with 5 cm of spacing between the tubes.
The model house also illustrates appropriate growing conditions to current mushrooms farmers. A Musanze District grower learned that his yields are suffering because his house fails to meet the necessary conditions to maximize mushroom productivity.
Ultimately, Agrishow left individuals and farmers’ organizations and institutions well informed about various agricultural products on the market, including oyster mushrooms.
During the closing ceremony on the 12th of June, the minister reiterated the fact that the country’s economy is based on the efforts of agriculturalists, who contribute up to 36% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Dr. Kalibata urged the crowd attending the ceremony to emphasize on good farming methods in order to keep the candle burning.
Written by Kigali Farms’ Marketing Intern, Brian Mudahigwa.