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Mashroom Farming

Tanzania's growth strategy to recovery from its position is embedded in its ability to improve market access within the continent and on the global stage by diversifying its agricultural products. This can be accomplished through value addition and beneficiation of its natural resources. This premise has presented a major opportunity for TIRDO to develop the following projects aimed at developing and strengthening the sector:-
Production of Iodized Mushrooms 
Seaweed Value Addition
Fruit and Vegetable Processing
Cassava Processing
Mushroom and Spawn Production Technology
Improvement on Quality of Coffee
Production of Good Quality Particle Boards
(i) Production of Iodized Mushrooms:-
Mushrooms have been eaten by the Tanzania community since time is memory especially in highlands areas. Iodine rich seaweed is now researched at TIRDO to be utilized as substrates for production of iodized mushrooms as a substitute to combat goitre which is endemic in those areas and other parts of the country. This project is done jointly with TFNC under the funding of UNDP/UNOPS.
(ii) Seaweed Value Addition:-
Under this project, the seaweed harvested from the sea besides being used as substrates for production of iodized mushrooms, they are processed/treated ready for export to countries where they are used in industry.
(iii) Fruit and Vegetable Processing:-
The abundant fruits and tomatoes available in the country once sold as raw as they are, fetch very low prices in the market, and many end up being thrown away due to deterioration during storage. TIRDO through UNIDO has developed this project so as to process them and get longer shelf life and hence adding value to those products.Besides value addition this project also aims to help small and medium enterprises to acquire the technology for replication to high fruits production areas. Those in the informal sector are also helped through this project to improve their income and hence poverty reduction. The project is both a training and production facility where ex-participants can bring their produce for processing and sell in the market.
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(iv) Cassava Processing:-
Cassava is widely eaten in Tanzania, however, some cassava species have high content of cyanide which is poisonous. TIRDO through EU funding, is running the project to remove the amount of cyanide in the fermented cassava. This technology has already been developed and is ready to transfer to the community.
(v) Mushroom and Spawn Production Technology:-
TIRDO has experts in this area of mushroom farming technology and recently has been selected the regional focal point in the area of spawn production (mushroom seeds production). The commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has also designated TIRDO to be the country's focal point in mushroom production. This project is being financed by both COSTECH and UNDP/UNOPS. UNOPS has the aim of transferring the technology and educating people on the nutritional quality of different kinds/ varieties of mushrooms including the medicinal mushroom which help to improve the body's immunity system to combat HIV/AIDS epidemic.As a focal point TIRDO has disseminated mushroom seeds (spawn) to various Africa countries (Senegal, Malawi, Gambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia). TIRDO conducts courses on mushroom farming technology at its premises and in other regions in the country is collaboration with private sector organizations like TCCIA.
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(vi) Improvement on Quality of Coffee:-
Recently, consumers of coffee especially European Countries have shown concern regarding on the decline of quality of coffee produced in East Africa including possible presence of high levels of Ochratoxin A which is a by product of fungus which attack coffee. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is said to be carcinogenic and nephrotoxic to human. TIRDO in collaboration with other four institutions from Germany, Denmark, Kenya and Ethiopia, through WAITRO, are executing the project on "An Integrated Approach to Prevent Ochratoxin A Contamination in Post Harvest Processing of Coffee in East Africa". This is a three (3) years project funded by EU which is aimed at improving the quality of coffee in East Africa by introducing GMP and HACCP to prevent fungal attack in coffee and hence OTA contamination.
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(vii) Production of Good Quality Particle Boards:-
The need to improve the quality of building materials necessitated TIRDO to research on the possibility of developing tannin based wood adhesive for production of particleboards instead of the conventional adhesives which emit formaldehyde, a poisonous compound. Wattle tannin which is abundant in the country was proven to produce a resin which in combination with cashew-nut shell liquid (CNSL), could produce a glue with superior properties for the production of building particleboards and plywood. The particleboards are made using remains from coffee, rice husks, coconut husks and now more experiments are done to use remains from sugarcane industries (Bagasse). A company Tembo Chipboard Company Ltd, used the glue and was able to produce superior particleboard's on commercial basis. To add value to the already produced particle boards, TIRDO is doing more research and recently has done initial experiments on both improvement of fire retardant properties and improvement on antitermite and anti fungal properties.On fire retardant properties work, TIRDO has won the first prize on best invention during the year 2002 Africa Intellectual Property day. TIRDO is in such forefront in the development and transfer of this technology. The experiments on termite and fungal resistance are done in collaboration with the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) based in Arusha and Forintek Canada Corp.
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Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization, TIRDO,
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