AFYONKARAHISAR, Turkey

Local women in western Turkey are growing mushrooms on the grounds of an unused high school.

A culture house in the Bayat district of Afyonkarahisar first provided training to 22 women on fungiculture, and then a women’s cooperative was established to help them grow mushrooms.

Classrooms of the school were turned into mushroom growing spaces, packaging units, and cold storage by eight members of the cooperative. The production of organic oyster mushrooms began a month ago.

“We did not use any chemicals in our products,” said Dilek Ede, the head of the cooperative, adding that they are proud of their work.

District Governor Omer Tekes said there is a high demand for organic mushrooms. “Orders are also coming from the UK, but they want an analysis on the safety of the products first. We are preparing the required reports,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Companies show more interest when they find out women are involved, Tekes added.

He said they expect 2-3 tons of production by the end of the harvesting season, which may not be enough to meet the high demand.

According to him, they will first increase the number of growing spaces in the school, and then aim to build a purpose-built facility in the district with the help of a development agency.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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