The farming of mushrooms is more suitable for women as it entails less intensive labour and could provide for a consistent source of income.
These were the words of Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and acting Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Mereseini Vuniwaqa.
Ms Vuniwaqa made the comments while speaking at the Capacity Building Workshop on Juncao Technology at the Tanoa International in Nadi on Monday.
She said the technology not only increased farmers livelihood in China but also could be applied in other countries.
Juncao Technology promotes cultivation of mushrooms and the growing of Juncao grass which can be used as a supplement for livestock feed.
It was developed by Professor Lin Zhanxi, who was present at the workshop, of the Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University in the 1980s.
Ms Vuniwaqa said mushroom cultivation was a new concept in the Pacific region and not many people knew how to grow or use them.
“Consuming mushrooms has a lot of health benefits given their high nutritional value,” she said.
“The technology enables farmers to grow several types of nutritious mushrooms from dried, chopped grasses, giving them a stable source of income thereby helping boost their livelihoods.”
She said Government was grateful to People’s Republic of China for establishing the Mushroom Training and Development Centre in Fiji.
The centre was built in 2014.
She added a number of potential mushroom growers and extension officers had established demonstration sites around the country.
“Many exhibitions have been set up to promote cooking and consumption of mushrooms around the country,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.
“The second phase of this project commenced in December 2017.”
She said it included more structured trainings for identified mushroom growers, research for identifying new varieties and substrates suitable for growing in local conditions.