Mushroom farming is one of the many farming businesses in Nigeria that holds huge money prospect but has never quite gained ground. It is reported by the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS) that Nigeria produces 300 tonnes of mushrooms per year and has a demand of 1200 tonnes. This means that many consumers of mushroom which include homes, hotels, and kitchens import from else whereas the supply within Nigeria does not meet up with the demand. This also means a lucrative business for you to invest in. Although mushroom farming can be quite cumbersome and labour intensive, it is equally very profitable. All you need to do is to learn the best practices of mushroom farming and combine that with brilliant business strategies. If you want to grow mushroom farming for commercial use or even for private consumption, there are some important steps to take when growing mushroom. This article provides a guideline for how to get started with the mushroom business and how to grow mushroom successfully.
Mushroom Farming in Nigeria
Here are a few facts you must know about mushrooms:
- Mushrooms need a reliable water supply in order to grow. Mushrooms mostly grow in moist or damp places. In other words, it needs water to grow
- It must be grown where there is shelter to protect it from wind and sun
- Mushroom also needs oxygen for survival
- Not all mushrooms are edible. Some species of mushrooms are toxic and poisonous, while some others are good for consumption.
How to start a Mushroom Business in Nigeria
Step 1: Getting a land
Of course, you need to obtain the land on which you will plant your mushroom crop.
Step 2: Build a Simple House
You will need to build a simple mud-house and a few wooden shelves where you can store the mushrooms. Ensure the house is well aerated to allow proper circulation of air.
Step 3: Look for the substrate
The first and most important item you will need is the substrate. The substrate is the substance on which mushrooms grow. You can use sawdust, rice bran, wheat bran, a log of wood, etc. This is a very important item in growing mushrooms.
Make sure whatever you use is sterilized as the slightest bacterial infection can ruin your entire farm. If you choose to use sawdust, a bag of sawdust costs N50 and you will need about 50 bags. You must ensure the following:
- The sawdust or straw is sterilized and free from micro-organisms or anything that may contaminate the mushrooms. The slightest bacterial infection can disturb the growth of the mushrooms
- Spread your medium that is the sawdust into a container that can provide enough room for the proper growth of the mushrooms.
- Mix the mushroom spawn with the medium i.e sawdust inside the container.
- The mushroom spawn needs a certain amount of heat to enable its roots to be established in the medium. This is why it is important you heat the container with the mushroom spawn and the medium inside it or place it in direct sunlight for a while
- After heating the container, the next thing to do is to put the mixture in a dark room. This could be a cabinet or drawer and the temperature must not be too high.
- Leave the mixture in the darkroom, drawer or cabinet for about three to four weeks for it to grow.
- Cover the mixture with soil and continue to spray with water. This is so it keeps damp even as the mushrooms grow.
If you choose to use logs of wood, ensure the woods are safe for the growth of your mushrooms.
- Cut holes into the woods
- Put the mushroom spawn into the holes you made in the log woods
- Put the logs under a shade
- Spray it continuously with water until the mushrooms start to develop.
Buy Nylon Bags
You will need small nylon bags in which to prepare the seedlings and also big bags for the final planting. The small nylon bags cost about N100 for 200 pieces while the bigger bags cost about N30 per piece. You will need lots of them for a plot on the farm.
Be mindful of Good Hygiene
As you will realize, good hygiene is important in mushroom farming. You will, therefore, need hygiene tools, such as hand gloves, mentholated spirit, drinking straws, and cotton wool.
How to Get the Seeds
Mushroom seedlings are also known as spawns. The most popular spawns are called button spawns. These ones are also easy to market. A Kilogram of oyster spawns costs N2, 000. 5 Kilograms will be enough to get you started.
The Dos of mushroom farming
- Always keep the growing environment of the mushroom clean and sterile
- It is advisable to start with a small farm before venturing into a big farm
- Seek professional advice from an agricultural officer
- Seek mentorship from farmers who are already in the business of mushroom farming in order to understand the challenges they face
- Do a feasibility study in order to explore your market options so as to be prepared for outcomes
The Don’ts of mushroom farming
- Don’t take shortcuts because you want to avoid spending. Mushrooms are very fragile crops. Seek help and follow through so as not to lose your entire investments.
- Always buy mushroom seeds from reliable sources and not the cheapest options.
- Be patient, mushroom farming takes time.
- Keep researching and learning on the best practices in mushroom farming
How Much To Invest
A plot of the farm will require about N500, 000 to establish from scratch. However, once the farm-house is constructed and other the basic equipment are bought, the cost of operation will reduce to about N100,000.
How Much To Expect
Oyster mushrooms take less than 40 days to mature. If you have a plot of farm with 1000 bags, you will obtain as much as 2 tonnes. Each Kilogram of mushroom sells for an average price of N2000 and this can bring results of as much as N4 Million in sales revenue.