Inspiring Case Studies: How Permaculture and Mushroom Farming are Improving Rural Livelihoods

Maize | Permaculture Case Study | Agri Planet Africa

Permaculture: Challenges and Benefits in Improving Rural Livelihoods in South Africa and Zimbabwe

Permaculture is a holistic design framework that encompasses sustainable agricultural practices to help improve rural livelihoods. This study focused on its potential for South Africa and Zimbabwe, with semi-structured interviews collecting data to reach conclusions. It was found that permaculture contributed over 40% of total income in both countries but was not the only livelihood strategy employed. Its benefits included improved human health, increased resilience to environmental changes and reduction in input costs. Challenges included high labor inputs, infestation of pests and diseases, and lack of knowledge on permaculture practices. Integrating permaculture with other forms of sustainable agriculture may lead to improved rural livelihoods despite the challenges it can present.

Permaculture: Challenges and benefits in improving rural livelihoods in south africa and zimbabwe. (2019). Sustainability, 11(8), 2219. doi:

Mushroom Farming Lifting Rural Group Out of Biting Poverty

The Millennium Mushrooms for Life is an environment conservation group of 15 villagers from Emusala in Kakamega County. They began by planting vegetables in their gardens, and then ventured into mushroom farming as a way to raise money. The project was funded by a loan from the Women Enterprise Fund, costing between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 to build eight huts with mud walls and special grass for thatching. Substrates such as bagasse, dry maize stocks, wheat straws and saw dust are used to grow the mushrooms. A cycle lasts three months and yields seven tons of mushrooms from each hut at a cost of Sh2,000 per kilo; resulting in earnings of up to Sh30,000 per harvest. In May 2020 they received the Net fund Green Innovations Award of Sh1 million.

“Mushroom Farming Lifting Rural Group out of Biting Poverty.” Business Daily [Nairobi] 2016: Business Daily, 2016. Web.

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