Mushroom farming is one very lucrative farming business that has really never been utilized to its maximum capacity in Nigeria. It is very prominent in Kenya, Ghana and many part of the world.
Mushrooms could easily be cultivated, whether in a mushroom garden (for private consumption) or in a big farm (for commercial use).
These plants are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruit body of a particular fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source (tree trunks and woods). It is not a green plant that has chlorophyll for synthesizing its own food through photosynthesis. Rather, they are mainly saprophytes depending on decaying organic matter to produce their own food.
It is important to note that they are wild (poisonous mushrooms) and also edible mushrooms, so when making a choice of mushroom seedlings you have to be careful to pick the right choice of mushrooms. In this post we will show you how to start mushroom farming. But in a subsequent post we will outline the different methods of planting mushroom in Nigeria. There are different kinds of mushroom such as; Oyster, Lion Maine, Shiitake etc. The most popular mushroom to cultivate in Nigeria is the Oyster and Shitake.
Mushroom is a globally recognized food staple and is a significant part of various recipes enjoyed in multiple countries and by diverse cultures. Almost all vegetarians can relate with this because it is one of their major food used to replace meat, egg, fish etc. Since food has to balance mushroom has become the protein many homes need.
On a global scale, China is the largest producer of mushrooms, producing over 200,000 metric tons of mushroom annually, which amount to about 48% of the global production. The USA succeed this rate, producing over 60,000 metric tonnes which amounts to about 11% of the global output.
Nigeria produces barely 500 metric tons of mushroom, which is way less than its production capabilities, amids its about 1500 metric tons per annual consumption rate, which leads to high imports due to inadequate production.
Mushroom farming is a money-spinner In Nigeria, and it has been enjoyed as a very lucrative business for only the very few farmers who have ventured into it. With the ever-increasing demand for mushrooms in Nigeria, the need for more farmers to venture into mushroom farming is now inevitable. Apart from cultivating for local consumption mushroom exportation should be looked into as another source of foreign exchanged.
There are people who are into this crop farming you can learn from although cultivating mushroom is very easy and you can do it yourself if you follow the process. Steps for mushroom cultivation are; sterilization, inoculation, or spaing, colonialization and fruiting.
How Profitable is Mushroom Farming
In case you are one of those asking how profitable is mushroom farming? I am here to tell you that it is very profitable. I remember when my friend was advertising her Aunts mushroom farming in Abuja; they don’t advertise anymore because buyers are on ground steady. You can make 3m from mushroom cultivation from a plot of land in less than three months. That means you can make times 4 of that amount in a year if you plant four times within the same plot.
How to Start Mushroom Farming in Nigeria
The first step to start mushroom farming is to get suitable and affordable land. Once you have secured the piece of land, you will need to build a mud-house and a few wooden shelves that would maximally utilise the vertical space available. It is essential to make sure the house is well aerated to allow adequate circulation of air.
Raw Materials for Mushroom Production
- PVC pipe
- Rubber band
- Polythene bags
Getting substrate or straw
The first and most important supply you will need to get is the substrate or straws. The substrate or straws is the material on which mushrooms grow.
The first step to planting mushrooms is to chop the straws into short small pieces. The next step is to wet the straws. Then heat the straws in boiling water, this helps sterilise the straw. Leave to boil for half an hour and then remove the straws and drain them. Next step, spread them out on a clean surface and let it cool down.
Then you pack plastic bags with the straw and spawn(mushroom seedling). Pack two or three inches .of straw into the plastic bag and lightly sprinkle the spawn on top. Repeat this process until you’ve almost filled the bag, close the lid and poke holes in the bag.
Mushrooms thrive in temperatures between 20 and 30°C and for maximum yield, a relative humidity of 55 to 75% is required. During the process of incubation, it is essential to keep the mushrooms in cool shady areas and in temperatures within 78 degrees F. Incubating the mushrooms begins with putting them in bags and storing on a shelving unit.
Note the incubator room should be protected from any trace of sunlight. Windows should be covered as well as any crack or leakage. Use a red “darkroom” light when you need to check on your mushrooms bag. If you notice any tiny pinhead mushrooms near the air holes in the mushroom bags, then you’re ready to move on to the next step.
FRUITING In Mushroom Farming
The next stage of your mushroom cultivation is your fruiting room. This takes about three to four weeks after incubation. Here, you would need a high level of humidity. The temperature would need to be between 65 to 70 degrees F. Unlike the incubation room, and you’ll also need a lot of natural light for at least 12 hours a day. This sunlight would help force your mushroom into fruiting. When the fruits start to show,
it is important to move the bags to a cool place for a day, then move the mushroom back to the fruiting room. Next, you cut away the bag, which allows mushroom growth to take place.
Just before your mushroom caps are fully uncurled, that’s the best time to harvest. Mushrooms are best harvested with hands. To do so, twist the stem off very close to the growing block as you can.
The use of mushrooms as a significant part of various recipes have drastically increased over the last ten years in Nigeria as many Nigerians are beginning to realise the numerous health benefits of mushroom.
This has dramatically improved the demand for mushrooms and this increase in demand has led to the rise in the importation of mushrooms because of low local production.
This has created a large market for almost any amount of available locally grown mushrooms in Nigeria, making mushrooms very marketable in Nigeria.
There are many varieties of mushroom to choose from when considering the cultivation of mushrooms some of which are;
Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius)
Rich in vitamin C, D and containing a high amount of potassium, the chanterelle is commonly grown in Asia, North America and the northern parts of Europe.
Shiitake (Letinula Edodes)
The shiitake is a variety of mushrooms mostly grown in Asian countries, especially in Japan where its name originated from. It has been known to reduce tumours.
Morels (Morchella Esculenta)
Morels is composed of vitamin C and antioxidants; it protects the body from toxic materials and also protects the liver.
Oysters (Pleurotus Ostreatus)
Oysters are known to have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. It can also help in reducing the level of cholesterol in the body.
Why Mushroom farming
- It doesn’t require ploughing of land, weeding, fertilizer application nor any agronomical practices of such.
- Mushroom is a bio-converter that converts organic waste into useful food. That is why some wastes such as; saw duct, grass, paper, leaves are straws.
- It matures within 45 days after planting, faster than certain crops like beans farming..
- Mushroom farming require less capital and is very affordable.
- Very satisfying when eaten, it is rich in protein, contains vitamin and can replace meat with cholesterol in food.
● Some varieties of mushroom have a high presence of vitamin C and vitamin D
● Mushrooms are said to reduce tumors and reduce your chances of getting cancer as they are natural anti-oxidant.
● Fungus protects you from the damages acquired from aging
● They help build your immune system
Mushroom has different ways of cultivation and farming; it is up to you to determine the most convenient and affordable one for you.
But it is important to note that mushroom farming is a money-spinner, very lucrative; as mushrooms are expensive in the market and give you as much as double your investment in the mushroom farm.