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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    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.