The preference of mushrooms among mushroom consumers in Southwestern Nigeria*Corresponding Author:
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Statement of the problem- Inadequate food supplies, diminishing quality of health, and increasing environmental deterioration are three key underlying problems affecting our future well-being in Africa. The magnitude of these problems is set to increase as the population continues to grow. However, despite the numerous, nutritional, health benefits and medicinal values of mushrooms, its importance in food security, especially in developing nations is not appreciated. Therefore, mushroom is considered in this study to identify the economic importance and the consumption rate of mushrooms in a way it will help to reduce disease incidences and alleviate hidden hunger in southwestern Nigeria. Methodology- Non-probability sampling method was used to select 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) from 3 states and four communities were selected purposively from each LGAs. Snow-ball sampling approach was used in selecting 5 respondents from each community, making a total of 400 respondents. Descriptive statistics was used to check the differences in the consumption of local (wild) and Exotic (cultivated) mushroom species. Also, the consumption rate of mushroom to other mushroom substitutes was determined with descriptive statistics and logit regression was used to identify the factors influencing mushroom consumption in the study areas. Findings- most mushroom consumers preferred exotic mushroom species to local mushrooms because of its taste, appearance, availability, shelf-life and poisonous treat. Also, mushroom is considered to be a bit expensive when compared with meat, fish, and egg but cheaper than snail and crayfish among others. Logit regression showed that age (3.21), household size (2.17), nutritional benefit (2.41) and medicinal benefits (2.17) had significant (p<0.01) effects on mushroom consumption. Conclusion- mushroom has wide acceptance among the general populace, good for food and medicine. Reccommendation- awareness should be created through agricultural policy on the need for mushroom gathering and cultivation and its consumption in Nigeria.