Mushroom Farming; Start Today!
Mushrooms are undeniably a great source of protein and essential vitamins. Many households are now substituting meat for mushrooms or eating them in addition to meat dishes. This is why more people are getting into mushroom farming because the demand is high.
If done right, mushroom farming is very profitable since there’s high demand for them. It does not require a large piece of land and does not depend on rainfall. However, a high level of hygiene needs to be maintained while farming mushrooms and it also requires some form of training so as to get it right. Typically, mushrooms are ready for harvest between four to six weeks from when you plant. You harvest them weekly for three months after this.
In addition to a small piece of land and capital to begin, let’s look at some of the requirements needed when undertaking mushroom farming:
- Structure – Construct a simple sizeable structure that will hold your mushrooms. Do this in accordance to your capital and how much you will be planting. Allow for good ventilation as you require good air circulation in the structure. You do not need a complicated structure to start mushroom farming. Eventually, you will be able to scale up as you progress.
- Materials: Spawn and Substrate – You need the seed (spawn) for the mushroom and the “soil” (substrate). Mushrooms don’t grow on regular soil so you need the substance for it to grow as it should. This can be wheat straw, rice straw etc. Substrate needs to be treated or sterilized to prevent any infections to your mushroom farm.
- Bags – With the ban on plastic bags, you can use gunny bags or some farmers are now innovative and use plastic containers (the dustbins with holes in them).
- Training – Because mushroom farming is very sensitive and the mushrooms prone to infections, getting expert advice from extension officers, mentors etc will reduce or eliminate the chances of something going wrong. Not only is it important, but it is crucial that you take the necessary precautions that will end up in you making profits rather than losses. Invest your time in doing research and attending trainings or if possible have an agronomist on call. If you are completely new to farming, HERE is a great article for you to read before you get started.
- Marketing strategy – Because mushrooms are highly perishable goods, we advise that you look for market well before you harvest. This ensures there is little to no post-harvest loss and that you actually make a return on your investment. Make use of social media i.e Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram etc to market your produce. Similarly, word of mouth and referrals are also excellent ways in which you can get your produce moving. Find out simple ways on how to market your produce using social media HERE.
- Hygiene – Always ensure that you maintain the highest level of hygiene when it comes to mushroom farming. You cannot use pesticides on the mushrooms after planting and so you have to be very careful. Fix nets in windows and doors to control mosquitoes and flies and set traps for the rats.
In addition to all the above factors, do not compromise on the quality of spawn and substrate you buy and your level of hygiene. This type of venture is very sensitive and it is very easy to lose everything with the slightest mistake.
In conclusion, just like any other business, take your time and take the right steps. And lastly, always stay hungry to learn more and do your best. Success is waiting on the other side!