Winners of the Wege Prize Competition

AgriTrade Hub Is Converting Wood Waste Into Mushroom Substrates


May 31, 2021, 2 p.m.

In a big wood village called the Sokoban Wood Village were two friends, Christiana Oppong Brenya and Sampson Osei Tutu Aggrey. The town was inaugurated by the former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor. The wood village included the construction of sheds, access roads, electricity, and a reliable water supply on 12.5 hectares.

In the same village lived woodsmen who relied on these woods to make ends meet. They processed the woods into furniture, which they sold to feed their families. However, there was a nagging problem that plagued the townsfolks. The wood wastes! The beautifully processed furniture produced tonnes of wood wastes with no place to dump them.

To find a solution to the problem, the woodsmen decided to burn the waste but, it proved futile. Smoke from the fires contained toxic gases, vapor, and carbon soot particles which penetrated deep into the inhabitants’ lungs. They experienced a range of health problems, from burning eyes and a runny nose to aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases.

Christiana and Sampson were unhappy about the situation and they purposed to put an end to it. They met with their friends, Victoria Akwamaah Yeboah, Linda Mensa, and Prince Charles Kudzordzi, who similarly were unhappy about the ordeal. For weeks, the five friends searched for solutions and technologies that could save them when finally they chanced on the Wege Prize Competition.

The competition was an annual challenge that ignited game-changing solutions for the future by inspiring college students around the world. The students were to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries to redesign the ways economies should work. For nine months, Christiana and Sampson, together with their friends, worked hard to birth AgriTrade Hub.

AgriTrade Hub became an agribusiness enterprise that centered on the Circular Economy model. Sawdust from the wastage was processed into substrates and organic fertilizers for mushroom planting and the cultivation of ornamental plants and trees respectively.

With regards to how it worked, Christiana told Digital Times Africa that they mixed the sawdust with wheat bran and a sprinkle of water to form the substrate. She explained that the bran increased the substrate’s fertility power. The mushroom was then transferred to the spawn of the substrate. (The spawn is the living fungal culture grown onto a substrate). It provides the backbone to any mushroom growing operation. It then took three weeks to a month for the mushrooms to grow.

For their efforts, they were awarded a seed capital of $15,000. The founders say they will use the capital to erect structures for production in Sokoban Wood Village. They also said their business will achieve three of the SDG goals. Thus, zero hunger, good health, and employability.

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.