News / Africa

    Mushrooms Provide Healthy Living, Food in S. Sudan

    Edward Kasran inspects the mushrooms he grows and sells in Juba to make a living.
    Edward Kasran inspects the mushrooms he grows and sells in Juba to make a living.
    Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
    Jobs in South Sudan are hardly springing up like mushrooms, especially during times of austerity, but South Sudanese are resourceful and have taken to creating work for themselves -- including one Juba resident who grows mushrooms for a living.

    His name is Edward Kasran, and after looking for work in the education field for almost a year, he finally shifted his focus to another way to make money: mushroom growing.

    Kasran grows the fungi in his garden, which is not only filled with mushrooms but also wild and domesticated birds, which swoop and glide overhead as Kasran guides visitors through his plots of mushrooms and into the dark, damp mushroom hall, where clusters of edible fungi poke out of plastic bags containing fertilizer that, apparently, helps mushrooms to grow.

    Kasran took a training course in Kampala and then launched his business with $1,000 and a healthy dose of optimism, in spite of the scepticism he encountered.

    “When I told the specialists in Kampala that I am going to do mushrooms in Juba, they told me it's a waste of time, that South Sudan is so hot and mushrooms cannot grow," Kasran said.

    "I told them no; I must go and try and I must produce mushrooms in Juba. My first priority is to enjoy being a pioneer of producing mushrooms in Juba and also to give a surprise to people in Juba that they are able to find fresh mushrooms.”

    When the weather is hot in Juba, Kasran sprays his mushrooms with water to help them keep cool.

    When there is no rain in Juba, he takes water from a 12-meter-deep well on his compound -- for the mushrooms.

    When he started his business, he thought he would be able to help feed his family and sell some mushrooms on the side.

    But now, he harvests two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of mushrooms every three days, and supplies fresh mushrooms to VAMP, one of the biggest food stores in Juba.

    Two kilos of mushrooms brings in 50 South Sudanese Pounds. Selling that amount twice a week would mean Kasran is looking at earnings around five times greater than the average gross national income in South Sudan, which, according to the latest available figures, was around $20 a week.

    VAMP General Manager Ellen Amita said the food store is delighted with Kasran's muschrooms and would like to do more business with him.

    He usually supplies the supermarket with fresh mushrooms once or twice a week, and as soon as he drops off the mushrooms and VAMP staff package them for sale, "The people buy it all," Amita said.

    "We want him to supply more -- as much as he can,” she said, mentioning the quantity of 30 kilos.

    VAMP's customers prefer fresh mushrooms to the dried ones that are usually on offer in South Sudanese food stores, said Amita, admitting to being a fan of the fresh fungi herself.

    They can be cooked in five to 10 minutes, and a kilogram is enough to feed a dozen people, she said.

    Kasran, meanwhile, is looking to expand his business but needs to raise capital to do so.

    “I need to allocate some capital to extend this shelter... to increase the import of raw materials from Uganda," he said.

    "Then, I would hire a laborer... But  at the moment I am still studying  where to get the funds.”

    He also wants to share his knowledge of how to grow mushrooms with other South Sudanese, hoping they, too, will be able to create their own jobs and help provide an alternative source of tasty, nutritious food to others.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.