I decide to share this interview with a mushroom on “Mushroom Farming for Exportation”. This is a relegated business idea worth venturing into but neglected. I am sure this will ignite something in you. Enjoy
- What does Mushroom cultivation entails?
Mushroom cultivation involves:
Decision making on what type of mushroom to cultivate
Identification of market
Location of mushroom site
Sourcing/ selection of substrate
Spawn production or sourcing
Substrate modification and preparation
Inoculation and incubation
Fruiting, harvesting and marketing.
- What are the requirements to start the cultivation?
Generally, there are four basics requirements for Mushroom cultivation.
Skill adequate knowledge on how to grow mushrooms for business. Growing for business is very different from just having an idea on how mushroom grow. Practical knowledge on to grow mushrooms for commercial purpose is important.
Although it is not compulsory you are an expert in all aspect of Mushroom cultivation, basic skills of life cycle of mushroom and requirements to grow mushroom for commercial is necessary.
Spawn spawn to mushroom is like seed to plant. High quality and reliable source of supply is necessary or you invest in Spawn production if you can.
Substrates substrates to mushroom is like soil to plant. Substrates for commercial Mushroom cultivation are generally organic wastes examples include; sawdust, rice straw, wheat straw, corn cobs, cassava peels, cotton wastes, groundnut shell and so on. Reliable source supply is compulsory.
Environment – Mushroom cultivation requires a controlled environment with appropriate humidity, temperature, ventilation, light, pollution free and pest & disease free environment.
Mushrooms do not meet all these conditions in nature hence availability is limited in nature all year round. In contrast, Mushroom cultivation provides mushrooms in required quantity and quality all year round.
- How can the plantation be managed?
Mushroom cultivation is more of work of nurture than work of nature. After successive set-up of a mushroom farm, effective and efficient management determine sustainability of the venture ie Doing what is right and Doing things right. Managing mushroom farm entails paying proper attention to humidity, temperature, ventilation, light and pest & disease control.
Humidity water mushroom bags as required 2 3 times a day in the acceptable manner.
Temperature most mushrooms require low temperature to fruit ranging from 18 30 degrees depending on the type of mushroom. Temperature and humidity control most times work hand-in-hand
Ventilation Mushrooms also breathe, allow fresh air in occasionally to reduce concentration of carbon dioxide in the growing room, this should technically to disallow dryness of young mushroom fruits.
Light – Mushrooms do not require light during vegetative growth, certainly some require light during fruiting. For instance, oyster mushrooms produce deformed fruit body in absent of light during fruiting stage while button mushroom need no light for perfect fruit body. Therefore you need to match your mushroom type with appropriate light requirement.
- Talk about the varieties/species of mushroom and which one is the best?
Edible mushrooms they are safe for consumption. They include wild and cultivated mushrooms. Examples are oyster mushrooms, volvariella, auricularia and button mushrooms.
Poisonous mushrooms they are dangerous for human health, they are not fit consumption. Example are amanitas and jack o lantern mushroom.
Cultivated mushrooms these mushrooms are the safest for consumption. They are identified, collected and nurture under their growth requirement domestically. Examples are oyster mushrooms, shiitake, volvariella.
Wild mushrooms – these are mushrooms found in the wild/forest. Some are edible while some are not. In the wild, a known edible mushroom may be dangerous as a result of external factors e.g. human may spray herbicide on them unknowingly. Such mushroom may course health challenges if eaten.
Nutritional mushrooms they are very rich in useful nutrients. All edible mushrooms belong to this class.
Medicinal mushrooms medicinal mushrooms provide us with high potent health tonic. Examples include; ganoderma and caterpillar mushroom.
There are many types of mushrooms. It is difficult to name one of them as the best unless under a factor. Lets look at Mushroom cultivation in Nigeria with beginners. In this case, we are considering;
Mushroom farming in Nigeria with our ambient weather
Using sawdust to farm mushroom. It is the commonest substrate in Nigeria
Particular type of mushroom that can be sold easily in Nigeria
Mushroom can be grown with easy
Beginners people with limited experience.
If we consider all the above factors we can easily name a mushroom to be the best. Hence the mushroom is Oyster mushroom
- What is the minimum startup capital?
Its almost impossible to answer this question. Because everyones circumstance are so uniquely different, generally, N250,000 to N500,000 is sufficient for small scale growers.
Meanwhile, with our long years of experience we strategically create four Entrance Points to carter for various categories of interested growers ranging from people with no/little cash to the very wealthy.
- How can an interested, but with little or no capital join the mushroom cultivation chain?
We have discovered that the more people in mushroom cultivation the better for all. Hence we have created four entrance points to accommodate various interests and financial capacity. The entrance points are;
EP001 Interested growers without capital
EP002 – Interested growers with little capital
EP003 Interested growers with minimum capital
EP004 Interested growers with sufficient capital
One thing that is common to all intending growers is interest. Once you have a desire to grow mushrooms for your household only and or commercial activities just talk to an expert.
- Where/how is the market like?
Unlike before, mushroom awareness is growing gradually. Many people now know edible can be cultivated all year round, therefore you can freely talk to people about your mushroom product. There is no doubt marketing mushroom still requires more effort than conventional vegetables.
Marketing starts in your neighborhood, friends & associates, work places, worship centers, and open market. Organized market includes; supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, schools, hospital, and grocery stores.
Mushroom is a perishable product, hence you must sell as soon you harvest otherwise you dry it for future market.
- If mushroom is exportable, how can one go about it and be profitable?
Despite the infant stage of mushroom cultivation in Nigeria, it is gradually developing into a recognized venture unlike other cultivated vegetables which are very common and widely cultivated.
Growing mushroom is also crop production like other farm crops; therefore there is no government regulation as an obstacle to prevent the cultivation and marketing of mushrooms in Nigeria and beyond. On export, there is significant barriers tort the product and there no import quotas.
- What are other business opportunities in mushroom cultivation?
Mushroom cultivation is all about using farm/sawmill wastes to produce high valued food/medicine and to generate income; therefore fresh and dry mushrooms are main products. The following are other business opportunities in Mushroom cultivation;
Patch (ready to fruit bags) sales
Sales of enhanced substrates for home cultivators
Enriched straw for animal folder
Sales of tools and equipments
Feeding manufacturers industries with semi-processed mushroom as raw materials
Spent substrate as manure
Other silent and still developing business opportunity in Mushroom cultivation
- How lucrative is mushroom cultivation?
Mushroom cultivation is one the most profitable agricultural activity. One major advantage is efficient re-integration of agricultural wastes such as sawdust, rice straw, groundnut shell, beans pod, tree branches and so on.
The cost of Mushroom cultivation varies according to regions and the specific type of cultivation but generally the growing of mushroom is less expensive than that of other food/cash crops. Because it requires little space and almost free raw materials.
Thank you for taking your time to read through the interview. I am sure you enjoyed it. I will be bring in more details about him and mushroom farming in the future. He runs training for interested farmers. I will be here to inform us about his next training and how easy to reach him.
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