Fighting Food Insecurity and Malnutrition through Mushrooms Cultivation

ELEA seeks to provide an integrated service through training farmers on Low cost mushroom cultivation and planting material .

Photo of Natalina Fungo
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name


Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Tanzania

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

City A: Njombe City B: Mbeya

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

This project aims at addressing problems of , food insecurity,and malnutrition deficiencies including lack of essential micro-nutrient deficiencies that can impair growth and cause high mortality especially among vulnerable populations of women , children and HIV/AIDS victims. . Mushrooms cultivation address these challenges because they offer employment opportunities improve food security because they can be grown all yea round, alleviate malnutrition as they rich in proteins and micro-nutrients

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The project aims at building the capacity of farmers on simple techniques in mushroom cultivation based on our research results obtained in collaboration with the Horticultural Research Institute Tengeru and the project's success in pilot villages of Kilimanjaro .This will be achieved through training sessions, demonstrations, and study tours for farmers organized in groups to produce mushrooms of high quality , and collectively market them,after sorting and grading to control quality and economies of scale, thus enabling them to earn high incomes. Knowledge on collective marketing, business management and credit management will also be imparted.The trained farmers will then be supplied with quality spawn (planting material) by ELEA Enterprise at low price and offer a buy-back of mushrooms at agreed prices and market them together with its mushrooms to increase its economies of scale and income. The project will there fore have 'Created shared Value'

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

SOCIAL IMPACT So far mushrooms cultivation has created employment for 100 workers of ELEA enterprise,. The project has so far improved incomes,food security and nutrition of 1000 households involved in the pilot testing in villages of Modio, Inshara, Khamsu, Baraa, Mshono and Idd of Kilimanjaro region. This project will therefore contributel to employment opportunities for trained and adopting farmers in the proposed target sites Mushroom cultivation on a large scale will improve on their availability all year round at affordable prices, hence improve food security and provide the rural and urban communities with high quality nutritious food which can be of direct benefit to the human health. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.Agricultural wastes generated i Tanzania are mostly, untreated and in most cases disposed off by burning or unplanned land filling. The cultivation of mushrooms is environmentally friendly because spent substrate can be used as organic fertilizers

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Project sustainability will be achieved through :Raising public awareness to to create demand for the mushrooms products produced in order to ensure sustainable market of the mushrooms products so that farmer entrepreneurs continue producing and selling them, training farmers on proper cultivation; business management skills and linked them with the existing micro financing institutions such as the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies and the National Micro finance bank to access loans as working capital. The business skills acquired by farmers, availability of reliable sources of raw materials with access to sources of funds will contribute to an expanded market leading lead to financial sustainability. Annual budget : Individual donations 30 %; Grants 40%; Earned income 30%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Our work is innovative because its approach is holistic, We start by providing the farmers the quality spawn mushroom planting material in our own lab to make sure that the material is of high quality to benefit farmers. We help farmers organize into producer groups and train them on the technology ; provide the farmer with the spawn on a buy -back basis and market for farm. Other spawn makers suppy low quality spawn and do not offers training , packaging & marketing services

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

I grew in an ethnic tribe which love mushrooms and collect them from the wild. In many cases there has been reports about deaths of children caused by mushrooms poisoning because children collect mushrooms indiscriminately. This led me to start researching on simple cultivation techniques of edible mushrooms so that people cultivate and eat safe mushrooms. I now enjoy training as many people on mushrooms technology

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Amy Franklin

I love your idea! I have considered mushroom cultivation in orphanages as a means to improve nutrition and achieve economic empowerment. What is the space requirement? What is the species of mushroom you farm? Is it native to Tanzania? I am wondering if there is a way to cultivate mushrooms and (edible) insects together....