ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and China on Monday officially launched a mushroom project, dubbed "Ethiopia 1550 Mushroom Programme," which enables the East African country to develop the sector with modern technology and scientifically.
Situated on the premises of the Technology Institute of the Addis Ababa University (AAiT), the Ethiopia 1550 Mushroom Programme incorporates Ethiopia's national mushroom spawn resources development center and Ethiopia's national mushroom technology training center.
The tripartite project among the AAiT, China Aid, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, the mushroom project establishes a standard mushroom spawn production, preservation and technology training center which is primarily responsible for mother spawn production and technology training.
Starting with small scale, the project is designed to be scaled up with more project sites and involving more mushroom farmers for training across the country, promoting Ethiopia's mushroom production and productivity, thereby securing improved benefits from the sector.
The programme will develop five mushroom project sites in the capital city and surrounding areas to produce next grade spawns, and of the five sites two have already been built.
Speaking at the project's official opening ceremony on the premises of AAiT, Esayas Gebre-Yohannes, Executive Director of AAiT, noted that the programme would have multifaceted benefits to Ethiopia, promoting mushroom production and productivity, creating job opportunities, as well as knowledge and technology transfer as well as research and development.
In his remarks on the occasion, Abdulsemed Abdo, Advisor to the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, said the edible mushrooms within consumer preferences and perceptions has not been studied though mushroom is an important commodity worldwide in general, and in Ethiopia in particular.
Stating that investing in improved mushroom varieties and associated modern inputs is a critical step towards increased yields, the advisor has said the tripartite project would help the country address some of the critical challenges in the area of technology development it has faced in the area.
"Some of the specific challenges associated with mushroom production include the limited capacity and lack of role clarity of the different actors, the focus of the system on very few varieties, mismatch between supply and demand resulting in shortage and excess inventory, and quality issues due to inappropriate production, storage, and transport practices and facilities," he said.
Speaking on her part, Liu Yu, the Economic and Commercial Minister Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, expressed her firm belief that more Ethiopian farmers would produce edible mushroom under the guidance of the center and earn a better income and enjoy a better life.
Alene Admas, an industrial biotechnologist and mushroom expert at AAiT, told Xinhua that the project would have significant contribution to develop mushroom technology in Ethiopia.