Mategyero quit the class room to grow mushrooms
Posted Tuesday, February 5 2013 at 02:00
Growing profile. Ms Mategyero has enhanced her mushroom growing profile with greater focus on exporting the commodity to other countries.
She carries herself with vitality on whatever she touches. Thus her energy has been rewarded with a chain of entereprenual schemes including a home-based mushroom business and commercial tree planting in Kiboga District.
Meet Angela Keijuko Mategyero, the managing director of Kebs Traders, who by no mistake is best described as a woman of multi entreprise.
A resident of Kyaliwajjala, Namugongo in Wakiso District, Ms Mategyero runs several enterprises at her home, with mushroom growing being her flagship business.
‘It is not good for women to keep home doing nothing, expecting the husband to bring everything, she says, adding ‘this is the reason as to why I started Kebs Entrepreneurial Academy. The training centre that she is building to equip women and other people with entrepreneurial skills.
Currently housed in her home’s garage, the centre takes people through the mushroom business value addition chain.
Other skills imparted include wine and jam making, tree growing, and horticulture.
She also has enterprises in banana growing, kitchen and garden vegetables and graphic designing which makes customised cards and souvenirs.
Following her profession, Ms Mategyero has also invested in education, building a school in Lyantonde District from the money generated from mushrooms.
According to Mategyero, mushrooms have brought her a lot of fortune considering the small piece of land that she plants the crop on.
The project is housed at the family’s backyard and is partitioned into cubicles, distributed among her children.
At a farm gate price of Shs5,000 per kilogramme, a basic backyard garden can yield about 10 kilogrammes daily on average.
This can translate into Shs1.5 million per month and is usually a harvest from a single seedling, which can be harvested for up to three months.
‘They [mushrooms] keep sprouting each time you harvest, until the garden is exhausted, says the teacher- turned entrepreneur.”
Graduates from her academy seeking to start their own businesses either buy seeds and go through the entire process, or buy ‘gardens’ that are about to sprout and transfer to their backyards.
A ‘garden’ in this case is one that is ready for germination (polythene or other material) where the mushrooms are grown.”
However she says it is better for one to go through the process, especially steaming cotton husks or other material in which the seeds are planted.
The steaming stage is meant to kill off germs in the materials that form the ‘soil’ where the mushrooms are grown.
She grows oyster mushrooms, and sells them either fresh, dry or in powder form for mushroom soup.
Her key market includes schools, hotels and super markets. The major challenge for her business is the Ugandan disease of preference for foreign products against home-grown ones.
She says she was denied business by a leading bakery, on claims of low quality and substandard products.
With long term plans of increasing production and ensure constant supply, Ms Mategyero is currently spearheading the formation of a cooperative that will bring together smallholder mushroom farmers and other horticultural products.
“We are targeting to recruit more farmers, so that we can grow our capacity to even export the value added product,” she says.
The cooperative seeks to develop capacity for industrial processing and value addition. It liaises with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute and Makerere University’s School of Food Science and Technology for technical support.
Taking inspiration from her late father, Rev Stanley Mategyero, she says it is only parents who can determine the destiny of their children.
She says: “I have tried to influence my four children and inculcated in them a culture of trust.”
Married to Edward Keijuko, who runs another family enterprise, Prime IK, a construction firm, Ms Mategyero is a member of International Farmers’ Dialogue, and is also a member of a chain of other farmers’ associations.
She is an ardent participant at Enterprise Uganda entrepreneurship training seminars and owes part of her success to these trainings.