Mushroom farming requires one to spend large monetary and time investment in growing mushrooms, marketing the produce and ensuring the operation is profitable. For one planning to propagate mushroom commercially, we have a guide that will introduce him to the basics of raising mushrooms, marketing them and surviving competition with wholesalers.
Mushroom farming is a labour and time-intensive venture. If you are planning to start one, you must be ready to devote time attending to the complicated process of growing mushrooms, growing them profitably, and the tricky aspect of marketing your product.
If you want to start small, experts advise that you focus on a niche market. If you already have a vegetable farm, you can incorporate mushroom growing into the business.
Mushroom Growing — Getting Started
The long process of growing mushroom involves getting and maintaining a mushroom culture tissue, using the culture to grow a mushroom starter (spawn), introducing the spawn to a substrate, and getting mushrooms to grow. The short process is to buy a spawn or mushroom kit from a commercial mushroom grower. Even then, you have to choose what species of mushroom to raise. Some mushrooms are difficult to propagate profitably, some requires special conditions to grow, and some have limited market.
Mushroom Production and Profitability
Market demand usually dictates a mushroom grower’s choice of what variety to propagate. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are usually recommended for beginners. They not only have an existing market, but can be raised in many substrates, on small scale with moderate investment. Volume is dictated in the same way by market demand. Before deciding on your production, survey volume demand, prices by talking to potential buyers and other producers.
Starting a mushroom farm can cost between N30,000 and a few hundred thousand Naira for spending on a production system with growing rooms and offices. Getting profit from a mushroom farm takes three to six months. And between starting your farm and profitability, you would have to face thin fruiting, possible insect infestation of your crop and fluctuating market prices.
To get the most profit, small mushroom growers sell mushrooms at retail or to directly to farmers’ markets, grocery stores, gourmet chefs and restaurants rather than to wholesalers. To capture a market, they concentrate on being a supplier of fresh produce rather than of mushrooms in bulk.
Profitability is usually increased by finding a way to make the average 10-week mushroom production cycle short. Continued operation is ensured by establishing a long-lasting relationship with buyers, which also means a commitment to deliver a consistent amount of supply. Buyers are most likely to enter into a contract with growers that are able to consistently fulfill their orders.