VOL. 40 (3) 2007
MUSHROOM GROWING WITH INFORMATION SUPPORT AS OPPORTUNITY FOR THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES VOSTROVSKÝ V., JABLONSKÁ E.
Abstract This article describes the possibility of the mushroom growing with information support in the developing countries. Mushrooms growing can be a big opportunity for the developing countries. Very suitable above all can be the oyster mushroom growing. The successful oyster mushroom growing in developing countries will need a reasonable information support. This support may be performed by combination of ELearning and expert systems among others. Such solutions can be used for example at consulting centres of developing countries for producing of the oyster mushrooms. These features are demonstrated at the example of the mushroom growing in China and Kenya. Key words: knowledge, expert system, eLearning, expert eLearning, developing countries, Oyster mushroom growing, waste management
INTRODUCTION Growing mushrooms can be a big opportunity for the developing countries. Very suitable above all can be the oyster mushroom growing. There are some special advantages of the mushroom growing in the developing countries: • abundance of plant waste for the substrate (straw, corn cobs, bagasa, sawdust, crop stalks and other agricultural and forest waste can be used to grow mushrooms), • mushroom growing can solve problem of the protein meals insufficiency and starvation, • it can increase insufficiency of the job opportunities, • expensive mechanisation could be compensated by cheap manpower. The market for mushrooms continues to grow due to interest in their culinary, nutritional, and health benefits. They also show potential for use in waste management. Importance of the mushrooms is following: • Mushrooms have good nutritional value. • Mushrooms provide high levels of protein, minor elements, vitamins and amino acids (white button mushrooms, for example, contain more protein than kidney beans. • Mushrooms are the unique health food. Most of them have natural anti-viral and immunity-boosting proper-ties that are used to fight viruses, lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. • Mushrooms are ecologically important. Mycelium in substrate is active in remediation of contaminated soils. These opportunities can be demonstrated on the oyster mushroom growing in China. The mushroom cultivation in China has a long-lasting tradition. Mushrooms have been grown there for hundreds of years. It utilizes reserves of cheap labour, sufficiency of the matter for substrates and popularity in the Chinese
board. The following table and graphs illustrate the mushroom growing level in China: Mushroom growing can be a valuable method used to fight poverty and starvation. It can make agriculture more efficient and make money for farmers. For example there was realized a project in 1989 to help people in poverty stricken areas of China learn how to grow mushrooms for self-supply. In Shouling county in Fujian, there were many people living below the poverty line. 94% of the families were involved into the project. Since then, mushroom cultivation in that county has become more and more economically significant. The inhabitants are now emerging from extreme poverty (Oei, 1996). Another proof of the economic potential of mushroom growing on developing countries is project in oyster mushroom production targeted for small-scale farmers in Kisumu (Kenya 2004). In March 2005, a demon-stration on oyster mushroom production and processing was conducted in Busia and attended by 250 parti-cipants. Mary Kariaga, who participated in this project, produced 120 kg of oyster mushroom in a small room making a profit of KSh 37,630 (i. e. 5000 $) in only three months (Giarratano, Riley, 1998). MATERIAL AND METHODS Mushroom production is on the other hand labour and expertly intensive. It requires a considerable amount of knowledge, research, planning and capital investment to set up a...