Stories by Steve Agbota [email protected]ahoo.com 08033302331
The cultivation of mushroom is one of the most money-spinning agricultural jobs in Nigeria but people are yet to explore the potential despite the country’s conducive climate for high volume of mushroom production.
Mushroom is an essential vegetable, which regularly grows in the forest with medicinal value. It is rich in protein, Vitamin B, and minerals, phosphorus and also has a large global demand.
Mushrooms cultivation is not just stimulated by their various exploits in staple meals but is also largely motivated by their wide range of uses. It is also cultivated and sold commercially in over 60 countries like the US, France, Poland, the Netherlands, among other European countries. Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and a host of other African nations are also known for mushrooms cultivation.
Experts in the mushroom business say the profitability of mushroom cultivation is comparatively higher than that of cassava, rice and cotton if given proper attention.
Reports have it that China produces more than eight million metric tonnes of mushrooms valued at over $40 billion and employing over 30 million people. Farmers said that government could replicate it by paying attention to mushrooms farming because it can reduce poverty and create up to five million jobs for youths.
However, recent official statistics from the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), have shown that Nigeria produces 300 tonnes of mushrooms per year against a demand of 1,200 tonnes. This implies that consumers, both homes, hotels and restaurants have to look to other countries to import it since the local farmers cannot meet the demand.
Experts said it is cheaper to set up a mushroom farm because it requires little space to grow it and can be started with N10,000 to N40,000 depending on how big you want your mushroom farm to be. There are some species of edible mushrooms, including oyster, shiitake, morel, psychedelic mushrooms, among others. For instance, oyster mushrooms take less than 40 days to mature and a plot of farm with 1,000 bags platforms can give potential investors as much as 2 tonnes of produce and each kilogramme goes for an average price of N2,000 and this can translate to as much as N4 million in sales revenue. Potential investors are advised to visit the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) to get some of the mushroom seeds. Potential investors are also advised to visit experts for more information before they start the farming.
According to CEO of Silverculture Farms, Mr. Mayowa Silver, Nigeria is a good place for mushroom business as the climate is perfect for its cultivation and it can be grown all year round, creating employment, healthy living and wealth for farmers.
As the market is expanding, he said companies can use the mushrooms to make beverages, soy and powder and for the value addition of diversifying by marketing mushrooms dried or pickled or as part of a food menu, especially for oyster mushrooms.
Only recently the President of Mushroom Farmers Association of Nigeria (MFAN), Mr. Olukanmi Balogun, said estimated Nigeria’s demand for mushroom is around 1,000 to 2,000 metric tonnes per year, adding that mushroom production could create jobs in Nigeria and reduce poverty and restiveness, which have characterised the youth in recent times.
According to him, if well articulated, mushroom business was capable of improving the agricultural output as well as boosting the industrial development of the nation.
He added: “Mushrooms cultivation is a ‘white agricultural revolution’ and if a youth was empowered with at least N30,000 to N40,000 to learn mushroom cultivation, they would be able to have a turnover of between N500,000 to N1 million within 6-10 months.”
However, an expert from Goerge Ofori Farms said potential investors should consider the following tips before venturing into mushrooms business.
Knowing the market for growing mushrooms
It is very important for you to understand both your supply chain and the market for mushrooms before you start a mushroom farm. You need to know where to get your mushroom supplies from and how much money the supplies will cost you and just how stable the cost is because understanding the market is key to making it in the mushroom growing business.
You need to know the going rate for the type of mushrooms you want to grow so that you can determine even before you start production whether there is a profit margin for you after you have taken out the total cost of growing the mushrooms. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of transporting or shipping the mushrooms once they are ready for sale.
Carrying out feasibility study before growing mushrooms
While the opportunities to make money in this business might be glaringly obvious at times, it is important that you do your feasibility studies before you commit to growing mushrooms as a business. You cannot just venture into the mushroom growing business without studying the necessary requirements or the cost it entails. It is better to carry out a proper and detailed feasibility study to determine the practicality of the business, the profitability, the financial implications, potential markets and the supply chains before starting.
Have a budget for your mushroom growing business
Running a business without a budget is bad business and it is no different in the mushroom growing business. You need to have a budget for your mushroom business so as to know how much you have to do business with and how much you will need.
If you are just starting up a mushroom growing business, you need to have some money set aside as start-up capital to develop and maintain your business before you start earning a return from your mushroom growing activities.
You will also need money to pay for expenses related to mushrooms with spawns, substrates, compost, housing, freezer for storing the mushrooms and other related equipment. You will need to establish a budget for every stage of the investment.
A business plan is essential for your mushroom growing business
You will need a business plan for your mushroom farm. Starting a mushroom growing business without a plan for the business is a recipe for disaster. You don’t want to go down that route. Getting started will require a clear and continuous plan. A business plan is a formal statement of your goals for the business, the reasons why you believe the goals can be achieved, and the plan for reaching those goals. Putting all these tips into use in your mushroom growing business gives you a greater chance at successfully raising mushrooms for sale and earning massive profits in the process.