Wild Mushroom A Blessing To Zimbabwean Women

Zimbabwean women in the rural areas have found solace in the rainy season which brings with it a variety of wild mushrooms for home meals as well as selling.

Wild mushrooms can be extremely dangerous. Police routinely warn people of the hazards of consuming wild mushrooms. In January, three girls in one family died after eating poisonous wild mushrooms. Such reports filter through each season. A few years ago 10 family members died after consuming poisonous mushrooms.

To avoid such a deadly outcome, rural women have mastered the tradition of teaching their daughters how to identify safe mushrooms.

About one in four women who forage for wild mushrooms are often accompanied by their daughters, according to research carried out by Ngezimana and colleagues at the university in 2021. In “just few cases” — 1.4% — mothers were accompanied by a boy child.

“Mothers were better knowledgeable of wild edible mushrooms compared to their counterparts — fathers,” noted the researchers. The researchers interviewed close to 100 people and observed mushroom collection in Binga, a district in western Zimbabwe where growing of maize is not as successful.

Mushroom season is therefore important for the families. On average, each family makes just over $100 a month from selling wild mushrooms, in addition to relying on the fungi for their own household food consumption, according to the research.

Nyari Mashayamombe

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