Indigenous Mushroom Harvesting and Strategies among Rural Women in Ikwerre Kingdom, Rivers State, Nigeria
The study analysed indigenous mushroom harvesting and marketing among rural women in Ikwerre Kingdom of Rivers State, Nigeria. The data collected was through primary source, extracted using structured interview schedule. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 100 mushroom farmers by purposefully selecting ten (10) communities from Three Local Government areas that made up Ikwerre kingdom, namely: Ikwerre, Emuohua, and Obi/Akpor. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as mean score, percentage and frequency. The study revealed that a higher number (40%) of the respondent were between the age bracket of 50-59 years, the majority (65%) of the respondents were married, 67% had no formal education, 47% had 11-15 years harvesting experience and they harvested pleurotus astreatus mushroom (45%). A higher number (68%) of the respondents were into mushroom harvesting and trading. Mushroom harvesters (wholesale) sell a basket of mushroom for N500.00, while the retailers incur a total variable cost (TVC) of N550.00 and earn total revenue (TR) of N1, 500.00, realizing a profit ofN950.The major benefit of mushroom harvesting to rural women was that it serves as a source of income (57%). Major constraints to harvesting and marketing of mushroom were: non availability (85%) and religion (13%).The study recommends that government and extension agents should educate indigenous mushroom harvesters on new techniques of how to grow and cultivate mushrooms to all year round.
Keywords: Indigenous mushroom, harvesting, marketing