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Oyster mushroom cultivation for Lao farmers

Ms Vieng says she can now call herself a mushroom farmer. Smiling, she holds up one of the bags she learned to prepare during her training on mushroom cultivation, a flush of mushrooms growing from it.

© FAO / Oscar Castellanos

Ms Vieng lives in the village of Huayman, in the Phonxay District of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Farmers in this area of the country have a long tradition of collecting wild mushrooms for consumption, but they knew little about how to cultivate them.

In October 2014, Ms Vieng and others from Huayman and nearby villages joined a mushroom cultivation group. Through the Agro-Biodiversity Project, a GEF-funded initiative of the UNDP that was implemented with technical support from FAO, the group received training on mushroom cultivation, particularly oyster mushrooms, which are easily sold in the provincial markets at a price of 20–25 000 kip per kg.

Within a year after forming, Ms Vieng's group could already see results: they had earned 20 million kip (US$2 500) from mushroom sales, and 60 percent of the amount was deposited in a local bank. Many villagers, including Ms. Vieng, now have extra income to better support their children.

“I want to continue in the group,” says Ms Vieng. “And from the earnings I also want to raise livestock.”

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