Cam Lo, Quang Tri (5 June 2013)
A line of state-of-the-art mushroom production equipment funded by the Government of Japan was officially put into operation at the Mushroom Center following the handover ceremony held by Project RENEW and its international partner, the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), in Cam Hieu Commune yesterday.
The Japanese-funded equipment worth $123,000 USD will enable a tenfold increase in the production of ready-to-fruit blocks, which is regarded as a significant breakthrough for RENEW / HDI’s Mushrooms with a Mission to expand and include more families affected by unexploded ordnance in the province.
A plaque in recognition of the new equipment was unveiled by Mr. Hideo Suzuki of the Japanese Embassy and Mr. David Prettyman, Chief Strategic Officer of HDI. Also in attendance were Mr. Nguyen Duc Chinh, Vice Chairman of Quang Tri Province People’s Committee and Mr. Hoang Dang Mai, Director of Department of Foreign Affairs.
Since 2009, Project RENEW in partnership with HDI has initiated “Mushrooms with a Mission” as a livelihoods assistance program specifically designed to aid economically vulnerable groups including disabled survivors of UXO accidents and their families. MwM empowers UXO survivors by providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to grow, market, and sell mushrooms and earn extra income to provide for their families. The program also benefits female heads of households and ethnic minorities.
According to Ms. Jeanne Samuel, HDI Vietnam Country Director, the equipment will play an important role as the program expands to include more farmers and make a significant contribution to the sustainability of mushroom farming in the region. “The Japanese-funded state-of-the-art production equipment will increase the production of mushroom blocks from 30,000 to more than 300,000 per month. It will allow expansion of Mushrooms with a Mission and increase local mushroom production; as well as funding more UXO and landmine removal.”
Currently with support from the MwM, 165 families of UXO survivors, ethnic minorities and female headed households in Cam Lo, Dakrong, Trieu Phong and Gio Linh Districts are able to reduce poverty and improve their livelihoods through growing a growing variety of mushrooms including wood-ear, oyster, straw and highly valuable Lingzhi.
Through the grant funding for RENEW and HDI to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, Japan has become a strong supporter of the MwM, along with the U.S. Department of State, Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australian veteran organization MiVAC.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr. Hideo Suzuki said, “Japan has always put great importance on UXOs and landmine clearance as well as the recovery of the livelihood of the victims and the community, as we firmly believe that this is an extremuly important component of peace and confidence building.”