Economies of Mushroom Farming In Kenya For the Year 2021

Many people have lately realized what a potential we have in agribusiness in Kenya and have gone into some of the lucrative ventures in the country such as Kienyeji chicken farming, fruit farming and mushroom farming. The latter has specifically attracted many youth especially those in urban settings. There are obvious reasons as you will see in the discussions in this article.

mushroom farming in Kenya
A Mushroom farm in Kenya


The mushroom market in Kenya

Let me give you some facts about mushroom farming in this country that will stir your interest: according to the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), our country produces only 500 tons of mushrooms per year yet the demand just within the country is 1200 tons.

Do you know what that means? The consumers of mushrooms in our country have to import at least 700 tons every year. Such a high and undersupplied demand only means one thing: there is huge ready market for mushrooms making its farming a huge business opportunity as well.

We have actually written on the cost involved in mushroom farming in Kenya and how profitable the venture is on this article: How Profitable is Mushroom Farming in Kenya: Costs and Market Analysis

Mushroom farming requires only a small space

Another fact that will excite you about mushroom farming is that you do not need several acres of land to make a good income. In Kenya, some farmers are actually turning their backyards and even garages into   mushroom farms, and confess that they make way more than what they did from their large scale farming of other crops.

But well, it’s not all easy money and overnight success as the foregoing statements might make it sound. To start a solid business in mushroom farming, one needs to invest in a number of things. Let’s take you through these things; we shall be glad to clarify anything that doesn’t come out clearly later. You can always Call Richfarm Kenya or Whatsapp us on 0724698357.

Mushroom growing house design and requirements

So the first investment you need to make is building a mushroom growing house. It’s not really costly: in fact, all you need is a simple mud-house with a grass thatched roof. This can be done the very traditional way of using posts and sticks to build the wall structure then fill it up with mud or you can do it as we did using earthen bricks as shown below.

 

mushroom farming house in kenya
Mushroom farming house

Once the house is complete, you need to make shelves. We chose to use wood and off-cuts since these are readily available and cheap materials. These shelves are used hold the mushroom growing bags. Now that’s where the science starts- the bags!

You can prepare or buy ready mushroom growing bags

Mushroom growing bags are simply plastic bags filled with a material called a substrate. The substrate is specially prepared using agricultural. Basically, anything grown on land is a potential substrate for mushroom cultivation. One may use rice husks, dry banana leaves or coconut waste. Anything from the legume family, such as bean waste, is great because of the nitrogen content. Most commercial mushroom farmers in Kenya use hay, wheat straw or rice husks. Its preparation process is a bit detailed; I cannot cover it in this article but you can always reach us by email or Whatsapp for help in that.

mushroom substrate bag
Mushroom Growing Bags already filled with substrate


Where to buy spawns - the mushroom seeds

Next are the spawns, or the mushroom seeds. These seeds can only be bought from a professional propagator so as to be sure you get clean, non-contaminated material. On average, 1 kg of spawn will cost ksh600 and would be enough for approximately 40 standard size bags. These seeds are introduced in the bags filled with the substrate and all a farmer does from there on is simply maintain the recommended moisture levels in the bags and the growing house, and wait to start harvesting: no weeding, no spraying pesticides and fungicides and no working under a scorching sun!

Wholesale mushroom prices in Kenya

Due to the crop’s lower cost of production and the high yielding capacity, mushrooms present a good opportunity for small to middle scale farmers. A kilo of mushroom retails at between ksh 400 to ksh 600. This high profit margin means that one will take a shorter time to break even and eventually make profits.

There are a total of fifteen different cultivated mushrooms varieties in the world. A farmer may need to know the various types in order to make the right decision when investing in this sector. The most common ones in Kenya are button and Oyster mushrooms. There are exotic mushrooms that can be grown, often for medicinal use, but they require more skills to grow and knowledge of the markets to find buyers.

The best mushroom variety to grow in Kenya

Button mushrooms are quite popular and readily available. The downside is that they are prone to diseases and infections. Oyster mushrooms on the other hand, are hardier and more resistant to infections. Besides, substrates for button mushrooms are prepared and cultured a month ahead. For oyster mushrooms, you can pasteurize your substrate today and introduce the spawns the following day.

The mushrooms are best when freshly picked, so most are sold to local consumers. After they are harvested, they are delivered to local chefs, food co-ops, grocery stores and directly to consumers at the local market.

CHALLENGES

One of the things that can eat into your profits is firewood for pasteurization, which is costly. If one fails to pasteurize properly, the fungi develops mould and that’s a loss. The good thing is that you can buy ready bags of professionally prepared substrate, already spawned (the mushroom seeds already sowed) from Richfarm Kenya.

HARVESTING AND MARKETING

Once ready, mushrooms are harvested consistently twice or thrice a week. Mushrooms have a high demand in Kenya but of course you have to seek this market. That simply involves informing potential buyers, mostly hotels and supermarkets, of your products. You will get very nice orders especially if you can prove to them that you will be a consistent supplier.

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