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Edible mushroom production in forest villages
of Turkey, Syria and Jordan

B. Cavalcaselle

 

INTRODUCTION

The FAO Project "Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and the Near East Region" (GCP/INT/539/ITA), operating in Jordan, Syria and Turkey, is a long term programme which aims to achieve integrated resources management through the active participation of the local populations. The first phase of the project (1992-94) was funded by the Italian Government (2.599.000 USD), with an additional funding of 2.507.470 USD for the second period (1995- 97).

During it’s first phase the project undertook action for the improvement of agroforestry, community forestry and NWFP activities in the three recipient countries. The results of both the consultancies and field observations show that, due to insufficient quantities of mushrooms in the project areas of Jordan and Syria, the collection of wild mushroom would not improve the income of the local populations in a substantial way.

However, since the primary objective of the project is to ensure food security for the rural populations, it was decided to evaluate the cultivation of Agaricus bisporus as a promising income generating activity for some of the project villages, located not only in Turkey, but also in Syria and Jordan. The selection of this species, instead of others, such as Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus sayu cayu, depended on the fact that marketing of Agaricus bisporus is well organized and easier than marketing of Pleurotus ostreatus and other similar species.

 

THE STATUS OF UTILIZATION OF EDIBLE MUSHROOM SPECIES IN THE NATURAL FORESTS OF JORDAN, SYRIA AND TURKEY

The surveys carried out in the three countries generally showed that, due to lack of knowledge on wild mushroom species, the interest in edible mushrooms is relatively low in both Jordan and Syria. However, three specific species, Cantharellus cibarius, Boletus aereus and Morcchella esulenta, are very much appreciated by the local populations, although they can only be found for a very short period of the year. Agaricus campestris is also well known and frequently eaten, as is Lapiota procera. Another popular specie, the desert truffle, grows in all three countries in steppe areas, in symbiosis with Helianthemum racemosum and Cistus sp. Finally, two other species, belonging to the genus Tirmania and Terfezia (Ascomycetae), can be found in the project area. These are usually collected during March and April and sold in the local markets, as well as exported to other Arabic countries (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, etc.).

The production and collection of wild mushrooms (Basidiomycetae) in Syria is mainly concentrated in native oak and pine forests located in the governorates of Lattakia, Tartous,

Hama, Idleb and Aleppo. According to the information gathered from the villagers themselves, it appears that the amount harvested is very limited. An exception to this general situation is the collection of Pleurotus ostreatus which is frequently found on Poplar stumps, especially in the plantations located along the Euphrates and Khabour rivers. About 4-5 tons of this mushroom are sold on the Aleppo market each year at 30-60 SYP/kg (1 SYP corresponds to 0.02 US-$) .

In Turkey, more data is available on wild species such as Boletus, Morchella, Lactarius and Cantharellus cibarius. According to Pacioni (1991), the production of Boletus, Morchella, Lactarius and Cantharellus Cibarius is very important for the country. Infact, about 22 tons of Boletus and 10.5 tons of Cantharellus were exported in 1989. These figures increased respectively to 730 tons and 160 tons in 1990. The main production areas are located in the Marmara and Black Sea regions (Kastamonu, Bursa, Bolu, Istanbul, Amasya, Giresun, Sinop, Balikesir, Zonguldag, Ordu, Artvin, Erzurum), but small quantities are also produced in South-West Anatolia (Mugla, Denizli, Antalya, Izmir, Isparta).

More recent surveys conducted in 1993 for a group of villages located in the Samsun, Erzurum and Sinop provinces showed that Cantharellus Cibarius, Morchella sp., Boletus edulis, Lactarius deliciosum and Russula delica were the species collected more frequently. The quantities collected and their estimated prices for a total of 14 villages located in the above provinces are summarized in Table (1). The fresh natural production of Boletus and Cantharellus cibarius is mainly exported to Italy, Germany and other European countries.

Other species, such as Lactarius delicious, L. sanguifluus and Vinosus, which live in symbiosis with Pinus sp., are mainly utilized in the Turkish domestic market. They can also be found in Syria and Jordan in Pinus brutia and P. halepensis forests. Pacioni (1991) mentions that the officially recorded production of these species in 1989 was almost 37 tons. However, the actual figures are much higher because a large share of the natural production is sold in village markets or directly consumed by the family of the collector and therefore is not recorded. Another wild mushroom which grows in Turkey is Morchella. Its production occurs mainly in Denizli, Mugla and the Black Sea region. More than 47 tons have been reported as being produced and traded in 1989 (Pacioni, 1991). Finally, P. ostreatus, in North Anatolia, P. ferulae in the Izmir region and P. eringyi in South Anatolia are traditionally collected by the local villagers from Poplar stumps or trunks. Officially, about 6 tons of fresh products were traded during 1989. Artificial production of such species, both on Poplar trunks or in inoculated straw bags, is increasing. The spores are produced locally in specialized laboratories.

 

THE ROLE OF THE FAO PROJECT IN PROMOTING EDIBLE MUSHROOM COLLECTION AND CULTIVATION IN THE FOREST VILLAGES

The cultivation of Agaricus bisporus was introduced first in Turkey and then extended to Jordan and Syria. The results obtained in the three countries are summarized in Table (2), (3) and (4). The methodology initially adopted in Syria for Agaricus cultivation was different from that applied in Turkey and Jordan. As a result of this activity, Agaricus now continues to be cultivated by villagers in Syria and Turkey without project support.

Jordan, with its characteristically higher temperatures in May and June, is less suitable for Agaricus cultivation. Therefore the perspectives of increasing the villagers income level through such activity in Jordan are less favorable than in Syria and Turkey.

 

CONCLUSIONS

From the results achieved up to now, conclusions on the future potentialities for edible mushroom cultivation in the three countries can be summarized as follows:

  1. The cultivation of Agaricus bisporus at the village level is a suitable way for increasing the income of villagers in the three countries.
  2. Other species belonging to the genus Pleurotus and Lentinus could also be cultivated with satisfactory results. More information about cultivation techniques of Pleurotus, Lentinus and Agaricus bisporus can be found in Rambelli (1985) and Quimio et Al (1990).
  3. A network for exchanging reciprocal information on the results achieved with different methodologies and edible mushroom species should be developed.
  4. Every country should develop a clear policy aimed at the sustainable exploitation of wild mushroom and truffles in order to increase the villagers’ income and well-being. This should include providing training courses for the villagers on identification, collection, culinary characteristics and cultivation of the potentially important species.

 

REFERENCES

Agaoglu, et al. (1993). A Preliminary Inventory of Non-Wood Forest Products in Certain Villages of Vezirkporu, Duragan and Uzndere districts. GCP/TUR/SWI Consultancy Report. Turkey.

Chang, S. T. (1978). Volvariella Volvacea. The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms. Academic Press. N Y.

FAO. (1983). Growing Mushrooms: Oyster Jew’s Ear and Straw Mushroom Regular Program. RAPA, No. 75. Bangkok.

Guler, M. (1994). The Status of Past and Current, Edible Mushroom Cultivation in Konya: Its problems and recommendations. FAO project, GCP/INT/539/ITA, Consultancy Report for Turkey.

Najjab, N. (1996). Mushroom Cultivation in Forest Villages. GCP/INT/539/ITA. Consultancy Report for Jordan.

Pacioni, G. (1991). TCP/TUR/8852 (T). Consultancy Report. FAO, Rome.

Quimio, T. H et al. (1990). Technical Guidelines for Mushroom Growing in the Tropics. Plant Production and Protection paper No. 106. FAO, Rome.

Rambelli, A. (1985). Manual on Mushroom Cultivation. Plant Production and Protection Paper No. 43. FAO, Rome.

Wassim, A.H. (1994). Rapport sur les Produits Forestiers Non-Ligneux dans les Forêts Syriénnes. FAO project, CP/INT/539/ITA, Consultancy Report for Syria.

 

Table (1) : Estimated quantities (kg) and value (US$) of mushrooms collected in 14 forest villages located in Turkey (1990).

Villages Cantha-rellus cibarius
(kg)
Boletus
edulis
(kg)
Morchella
sp.
(kg)
Lactarius sp.
(kg)
Russula
sp.
(kg)
Armillaria
mellea
(kg)
Agricus sp.
(kg)
Others
(kg)
Beyardic         

50

           
Ortakoy                        
Kirencik         

7500

           
Hacimahmutlu       

300 (x)

       
Koseli                
Camliyainac    

100

     

150

30

Altincanak            

50

 
Dikyar          

300

900

700

Karakoy

2000

2500

25

2500

        
Sofular

5000

             
Saridibek

600

 

150

15

500

     
Tahtakopru

25

 

25

100

       
Daricayalani    

800

100

       
Daricay    

1000

500

       
Total
Kg. 26 095

7625

2500

2275

11065

500

300

1100

730

Value
US$ 106 680

30500

25000

34125

11065

1000

600

2200

2190

Source : Agaoglu, 1991
The value in US$ is calculated according to the TL/USD exchange rate in October 1990.

 

Table (2) : Mushrooms produced by the project in Turkey during the first phase (1992-94) in the Konya province

 

Period: 19.05 – 12.08.92

Period: 20.09 – 29.11.93

Period: 24.06 – 30.11.94

Village

Fam

Bags

Total (kg)

Kg/
Bag

Fam

Bags

Total
(kg)

Kg/
bag

Fam

Bags

Total (kg)

Kg/
Bag

Eldes

6

74

135.9

1.8

4

120

291.6

2.4

       
Buluck

6

90

277.2

3.1

5

92

201.5

2.2

       
Beykavagi

4

83

234.9

2.8

6

103

246.2

2.4

2

400

956

2.4

Bagricurt

2

20

17.6

0.9

2

20

49.2

2.5

         
Kucukmushine

5

91

102.8

1.1

5

100

291.0

2.9

       
Total

23

358

768.4

2.1

22

435

1079.5

2.5

2

400

956

2.4

Fam: No. of families provided with compost sacs inoculated with Agricus bisporus, and techincal assistance from the project.
Bags: Plastic sacs filled with 12 kg of compost inoculated with Agricus bisporus and covered with casing soil.

 

Table (3) : Mushroom produced by the project in Jordan during 1994 – 96

  Production 1994 Production 1995 Production 1996
District Village Fam Bags Total (kg) Kg/
bag
Fam Bags Total (kg) Kg/
bag
Fam Bags Total (kg) Kg/
bag
Jerash Sakeb 1 10 24 2.4 5 245 312 1.3 5 250 210 0.9
  Majdal 2 20 57 2.8 5 255 425 1.7        
  Debbim 1 10 29 29         3   180 1.2
  Reymoon 1 10 18 1.8                
  Ketteh 1 10 19 1.9                
Total 5 6 60 147 2.5 10 500 737 1.5 8 400 390 1.0
Ajloun Eshtafeua 1 10 22 2.2 5 200 250 1.3        
  Rasson         5 250 194 0.8        
  Ajloun 1 10 10 1.0                
  Smaidieh 2 10 22 2.2                
                           
Total 5 5 50 68 1.4 10 450 444 1.0        
Salt Ira                        
  Yarqa                        
  Bayoda 1 10 29 2.9         5 275 165 0.6
  Eleyqoon 2 20 50 2.5         5 235 105 0.5
  Subeihi 1 10 28 2.8                
Total 5 4 40 107 2.7         10 510 270 0.5
Total 15 15 150 322 2.2 20 950 1181 1.2 18 910 660 0.7

Fam: No. of families provided with compost sacs inoculated with Agaricus bisporus, with the related casing soil and techincal assistance from the project.
Bags: Plastic sacs filled with 12 kg of compost inoculated with Agaricus bisporus and covered with casing soil.

 

Table (4) : Mushrooms produced by the project in Syria during the period 1995 –96

   

1995 Production

1996 Production (3)

Province

Village

Fam

Bags

Total (kg)

Kg/bag

Fam

Bags

Total\ (kg)

Kg/bag

Qunaitra

Trunje

1

20

47.6

2.4

3

80

296.5

3.7

           

3

70

257.3

3.7

  Total

1

20

47.6

2.4

6

150

553.8

3.7

Aleppo

Maarasat Al-Khatib

1

75 (1)

96.3

1.3

2

38

148.0

3.9

           

6

142

399.0

2.8

  Total

1

75

96.3

1.3

8

180

547

3.0

Lattakia

Al-Fajer

2

62

209

 

4

80

223

2.9

  Al-Zeitounah  

20

60 (2)

 

2

40

100 (2)

2.5

  Total  

82

269

  

6

120

323

2.7

Note: The market price in Syria ranges between 2 and 3 US$/kg.
  1. Produced locally after re-inoculating the compost prepared by the villagers with new spawn kindly supplied by the consultant.
  2. Estimated production.
  3. 50% of the cost was supported by the villagers.

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