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Training on Mushrooms aimed at popularizing mushrooms as a food source in Tonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 14/05/2019

The Minister of Agriculture – Losaline Ma’asi is hoping that mushrooms can become a food source for many Tongans following a training on mushrooms this morning at Tupou College.

The training was attended by several women and growers, mainly from the Western District, where they learnt ways to cultivate mushrooms and also how to cook it.

Hon. Ma’asi says that mushrooms are not a popular food here as it is known in Tongan as “fakamalu tevolo” which literally translates as “demonic umbrella”, and is not normally recognized as a food.

However, this training led by a team under the China-Aid Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project in Tonga, is looking to change this and popularise mushrooms among Tongans, as they are easy to grow and are really healthy to eat.

This can help Tonga in improving the health of the people and also address food security issues.

Siosaia Ma’asi, a retired staff of the ministry, and chair of the Western District Council, attended this training and said he knows a lot about the program from during his employment with the ministry, and believes that this move to now educate the public on mushrooms is great.

This not only promotes mushrooms as a cheaper alternative to more expensive healthy foods, but it can also be a source of income for those cultivating it.

‘Oholei Beach Resort is a part of this program with the team from China, and the owner – Simana Kamii says they are impressed with the results they’ve yielded so far.

The team leader of the group from China explained that the mushrooms are easy to cultivate, even recycling what may otherwise be thrown away as trash, such as corn cobs, cassava stalks, sawdust, and even coconut shells.

There are some mushrooms that are not edible and are poisonous so this training taught the local growers how to cultivate the edible kind of mushroom and also how to prepare them for a meal.

This program has already seen mushrooms being cultivated for demonstration at Toloa and have already shown successful results, that hopefully would see this food become popular in Tonga.

 

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