Sustainable biodiversity: mapping and domesticating the mycological riches of Rwanda's forests

Project Summary: 

In 2015, the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) invested in sustainable biodiversity by providing a grant to Kigali Farms to map and domesticate the mycological riches of the country’s forests. This investment has created an inventory of edible mushroom populations in Rwanda's forest ecosystems and identified species that are suitable for export and have the potential for cultivation. Today, mushrooms grown in Rwanda are exported across the region, improving the health and livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers and customers.

The Rwanda Green Fund investment of approximately Rwf 40 million in local mushroom producer, Kigali Farms, aimed to create an inventory of edible mushroom species in Rwanda's forest ecosystems. The study identified species that are suitable for food, export and wide-scale cultivation. The study was conducted in the forests of Nyungwe and Volcanoes national parks by Kigali Farms, in collaboration with experts from the Botanic Garden Meise in Belgium and the Rwanda Development Board.

The study revealed more than 20 mushroom species in Rwanda, though not all can be domesticated. These three mushrooms types, yellow oyster, lenthynus and juda’s ear, are very rich in the vitamins and nutrients essential for people to stay healthy. The findings of the study have helped to start a new business venture - a laboratory producing mushrooms species that are adaptive to local environment and soil.After a series of tests in their growing houses, the oyster mushrooms proved to be most suitable and flourished. Since then, Kigali Farms has expanded its population.

Download a factsheet with more information about this investment here.

Photos

Rwanda Green Fund Investment - Sustainable Biodiversity with Kigali Farms

Key Project Outputs: 

Output 1: Scientific publications of results of the expedictions and/or cultivation attempts
Output 2: In-lab tissue replication of promising specimens
Output 3: Project Management

Partner Institution/s: 

Botanic Garden Meise (Belgium)
Tourism and Conservation Department, Rwanda Development Board