Mushroom farming: Turning waste to wealth

My personal experience as an agric entrepreneur has proved that farming mushroom, antelope, quail, rabbit, grass cutter, snail, laboratory rat and guinea pig is second nature.

 In the case of mushroom cultivation, its production gives small farmers a big chance to increase their income, improve their health and offers an alternative means of livelihood to urban and rural farmers. The process of growing mushroom is one of the easiest ways to earn a living and not much physical strength is required in its production.

 The potential in mushroom farming makes it an investor’s delight as a viable money making option. Investment in mushroom production will, in the long run, contribute to food security, wealth, health and employment creation.

 Getting started

Starting a mushroom farm is a potentially lucrative way of getting into the farming business.  Its cultivation is also regarded as one of the most science-based branches of agriculture and horticulture. Growing mushroom is a rewarding experience.

You can get started without the costly items the so-called experts say you should have. With about N80,000, one can kick-off with 20 mushroom platforms constructed with scrap materials by a roadside carpenter. They are cultivated in a small floor space.

Mushroom beds need a darkroom for only 14-18 days while harvesting is usually four to six days after opening the bags, mushroom primordia begin to form. Mature mushrooms become ready for harvesting in another three to four days.


There are many types of mushrooms and they can be categorised into four groups: Saprotrophic, Mycorrhizal, Parasitic and Entophytic.

Health benefit 

Edible mushrooms are considered as healthy food because their mineral content is higher than that of meat or fish and most vegetables. The protein content of fresh mushrooms is about twice that of vegetables and four times that of oranges.

The protein in mushrooms has all the nine amino-acids that are essential for the health of human beings and they are especially rich in lysine and leucine, which are lacking in most staple cereal foods.

Scientists have also indicated that mushrooms are devoid of starch and low in calories and other carbohydrates. It is clear that apart from the nutritional value of mushrooms, they have potential medicinal benefits and are also an ideal food for the diabetics and obese people.

 The health benefits of mushrooms also include improvement in the body’s immune system and the prevention of all forms of cancer and tumour.

 Good market

Many opportunities abound in the growth of mushrooms as most of the big hotels in Nigeria have mushrooms on their menu, but these mushrooms are imported, meaning that local production will have a ready market. There is an opportunity to even export mushrooms to Europe and America, once you can produce good quality.

In Asia, there are a lot of youths and women organisations that are engaged in mushroom farming and they are able to export their produce.

Increased awareness

More farmers are of late going into the farming of mushrooms.

Local demand for mushroom is also increasing as the people become more health conscious by avoiding the consumption of red meat that is loaded with cholesterol.

The business of mushroom cultivation in Nigeria is now growing at a feverish pitch, attracting investors who either see it as a complimentary business proposition or as a main and sustainable revenue stream.

Either of the propositions has the potential to earn decent returns.

For instance, while a kilo of chicken goes for N700 on the average, a kilo of mushroom is about N1,700.


The technology for the cultivation of mushroom species could be easily adopted by individuals, co-operative societies, families and schools in the rural and urban centres without difficulties. Also, mushrooms can be cultivated all-year round as sources of the mushrooms are agricultural wastes, which are always available in abundance in Nigeria.

The high rate of returns and low cost of investment as well as farming them are some of the reasons many farmers are fast resorting to mushroom cultivation these days.

If you embrace this business, you will be glad you did in the long run.


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