Port Harcourt – A mushroom farmer, Chief Moore Chinda, has urged the Federal Government to invest in pharmaceutical mushroom, known as “ganoderma,” used in producing drugs for HIV/AIDS patients.
Chinda, the Managing Director, Dilomat Farms Limited, made the call in an interview in Port Harcourt on Friday.
He said that the medicinal qualities of the ganoderma mushroom were high, noting that the mushroom was already being used in Sweden to manufacture drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The farmer also said that research was ongoing in Swaziland on the use of ganoderma mushroom to treat HIV/AIDS patients which, he said, was yielding encouraging results.
Chinda said that although he majored in mushroom farming, he could not go into the cultivation of ganoderma mushroom due to its huge fund requirement.
“It is not possible for us to embark on producing ganoderma mushroom used for manufacturing HIV/AIDS relieving drugs because of the processes involved.”
He said that the process included using waste materials such as sawdust, cotton waste, groundnut-shells and rice bran to produce the spawn (seedlings).
He said that production and preservation were the most important aspects of mushroom farming, which was overwhelming to his farm.
“We are just managing to keep our heads above water; the requirements are too many,” Chinda said.
He urged governments at all levels to invest in such farming since it is a huge foreign exchange earner.
The farmer said that the government could easily meet up with the processes involved in the production, adding that mushrooms had many uses, including being produced as milk, drinks and beverages.
“The farm is yet to develop to its full potential for the market potentials to be established.”
Chinda noted that many Nigerians were unaware of the nutritional and health importance of mushrooms consumption.
According to him, it is used in the treatment and prevention of various kinds of diseases.
He observed that Nigerians lived in “great wealth” on account of unutilised abundant waste products that could have been turned into wealth.
Chinda listed such waste to include rice bran, wheat bran, sugarcane bagasse, water hyacinth, palm bunch wastes, plantain and banana leaves, groundnut shield, cotton wastes and sawdust.
The farmer said that the unutilised waste materials constituted environmental hazard to communities and called on the government to transform the wastes into wealth.
“This will also ensure a clean environment,“ he said. (NAN)