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Cameroon Farmers are Trying to Diversify Outlets for the Mushrooms they Grow on Agricultural Waste

Myciculture, or the cultivation of edible mushrooms, has long been developed in the West and especially in China, by far the world’s largest producer, but it is still not very widespread in Africa, even though it has the advantage of producing food by recycling “clean” waste, which is almost free. Cameroonians are particularly fond of it but have to wait for the rainy season to collect it in the wild. In Bafoussam, the capital of the West region and the country’s third-largest city, Jean-Claude Youbi has discovered a seam, as have other small entrepreneurs throughout this vast country of 28 million inhabitants. Thousands of oyster mushrooms are growing in a dark room of his Groupe initiatives Communes (GIC Champignon), which was launched with partners four years ago in Bafoussam. They are grown in rows on shelves on agricultural waste packaged in plastic bags. It is difficult to get an idea of the extent and weight of the industry because there is no official national data on production and consumption. The life of the GIC Champignon is marked by constant comings and goings.