Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mushrooms in Rwanda

Alright, many of you might have heard me talking about how I will grow mushrooms in Rwanda for the next couple of weeks. Well, surprisingly I was not making one of my jokes, but am actually sitting in Kicukuro right now (which belongs to Kigali) reading about spawn production in East Africa.


What do I do?
I am working for Kigali Farms (www.kigalifarms.com) and am responsible to find much needed funding for our upcoming projects which include enhancing our product portfolio (with white button mushrooms, right now we only do oyster mushrooms), building a spawn lab and setting up a distribution system. Kigali farms is a for-profit social business that aims at fighting malnutrition in East Africa by introducing commercial mushroom growing with local resources in the region. We try to win local farmers to purchase substrate and spawn from us who then grow the mushrooms and sell them either back to us or directly at the local markets.

Where do I do it?
Our office is located in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Rwanda is one of the up and coming countries in the region, relatively safe and politically stable. We have some land an hours away that allows for expansion and is in a region with more favorable climate. In Kigali I am currently staying at my boss's house but will move to my own place on Monday. It's great to get to know different parts of the town! I have not seen that much of Kigali so far, but the markets, the colorful dresses and the traffic already made an i
mpression.

How did I get to spend my time in Rwanda?
Well, I have two spare month in between quitting my job and starting school, Instead of simply travelling or doing a traditional internship I tried find working opportunities in the social sector in a country or region I have not been to much. Stanford has been a great help putting me in touch with some organizations that fit my requirements and after a one-hour skype date with the founder and CEO of Kigali Farms I decided to spend my summer in Rwanda.

In the upcoming posts I will talk a bit about the work I am doing here, the non-profit sector as well as life as an expat in Africa.

Cheers + bis bald,
TIM

2 comments:

  1. I'm still skeptic about "for-profit social business"

    anyway... do you need a green thump for growing mushrooms?

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