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Mushrooms in Ghana: Building a Spawn Laboratory

(Note: The project was created in 2008 under 501 (c)(3) non-profit Magical Child Foundation. In 2014 the name was changed to Mushrooms for Well Being Foundation)

Doug and I have been working as volunteer mushroom consultants with Bernard Bempah of Bemcom Youth Enterprises Association, an alternative agricultural training and resource center, since 2007. Bemcom trains small-scale farmers to grow oyster mushrooms in bags of composted sawdust. Our work is to help mushroom farmers improve their production and marketing practices and to introduce shiitake mushroom logs to diversify their crops. We have set up a research project to identify local tree species that can grow shiitakes.

In 2007 Bemcom served 160 farmers. In 2016 that number is over 750.
Oyster mushroom bag production was 1,200 bags a week. In 2016, 8,000-9,000 bags a week.
At present Bemcom has 45,000-50,000 bags in continuous production.

Ghana has over 12,000 mushroom farmers and only one registered laboratory to make spawn (the mushroom seed material). That lab, doing the best it can, cannot meet the spawn needs for Bemcom – much less for the rest of the country.

Bemcom's motto is "Freedom from poverty." Farmers who were living on a dollar a day can now make as much as $15 a day! It's real and it's working and it's sustainable. Many of the farmers are selling all they can grow. They could sell more, but Bemcom can't get the spawn, so the farmers can't get the bags.

To date Mushrooms in Ghana Project has brought Bempah and a colleague to the US and supported additional spawn production training for Bempah. The project provided laboratory equipment, training materials, shiitake and oyster mushroom spawn and cultures, and has provided funding for farmer training. Doug and I have traveled to Ghana three times as volunteers and contributed money from Lost Creek Mushroom Farm Log Kit sales and our own resources to help improve mushroom farmers’ production, business practices and profits.

Mushrooms in Ghana Project and Bemcom are building a new laboratory at an estimated cost of $100,000 US -- the Bemcom-Williams West African Mushroom Spawn Laboratory.

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Learn more...
US Shiitake-Farmer Volunteers Work with Oyster Mushroom Farmers in Ghana

Mushrooms in Ghana Project Plans Spawn Laboratory for Ghana and West Africa
Mushrooms for Well Being Foundation

Please donate here using the link above, using a credit card or PayPal, by phone at 1-800-792-0053, or by sending a check or money order to Mushrooms for Well Being Foundation, PO Box 82, Perkins, OK 74059. You will receive a receipt acknowledging and thanking you for your tax-deductible gift.

We are pleased to do presentations about the project and Mushrooms for Well Being Foundation.

Thanks so much!
Sandra Williams

We can help people make a living
We can help people live
We can help change the world

Sandra and Doug Williams begin their volunteer work in 2007 and start Mushrooms in Ghana Project in 2008.

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotis ostreatus) growing in a bags of composted sawdust. Oyster mushrooms can grow in agricultural waste at low cost.

Bernard Bempah and a shiitake log brought to Ghana from Lost Creek Mushroom Farm. This log is proof that shiitakes will grow in the climate around Bemcom. The challenge is to find the right species of wood.

Presenting laptop and projector to Bemcom and ACDI/VOCA Representatives, 2011.

Inoculating sterilized compost bags with oyster mushroom spawn at Bemcom Training and Resource Centre in Ghana

Inoculating logs with shiitake spawn at Bemcom Training and Resource Centre in Ghana, 2016

Sandra with Ghanaian mushroom farmer, 2016