Mushroom

Mushrooms are fungi that grow on decaying organic matter, known as a substrate. The most popular mushroom species grown in Kenya are button (Agaricus spp.) and oyster (Pleurotus spp). Cultivated mushrooms are edible fungi that grow on decaying organic matter, known as substrate. The scietific name is: Agaricus spp. (button mushrooms); Pleurotus spp. (oyster mushrooms). Local names are: Swahili: Uyoga; Luhya: Obwoba; Luo: Obwolo; Kikamba/Kikuyu: Makunu; Kalenjin: Bobar; Meru:Gikunu; Kisii/ Ekisuba:Oboba;

Button mushrooms are widely cultivated by large scale farmers as their production requires high input technology. Oyster mushrooms are mostly grown by small scale farmers using simple production techniques.

Mushrooms have a high nutritional value and are high in protein. They are also a good source of vitamins (B-complex and C), essential amino acids, and carbohydrates but are low in fat and fibre and contain no starch.. Minerals present include phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and copper. They are an ideal diet for diabetics and weight-watchers as fresh mushrooms have a very high water content of around 90%. Some species are also grown for their medicinal value (Ganoderma and Shiitake mushrooms). Mushrooms are a valuable source of food and their cultivation can be a viable small-scale business enterprise.

Adding value to fresh mushrooms usually means either developing a processed product, such as a sauce, or drying surplus mushrooms for sale in the off-season, when prices are higher. A value-added product can be sold either directly to the consumer or to wholesalers.Adding value to fresh mushrooms usually means either developing a processed product, such as a sauce, or drying surplus mushrooms for sale in the off-season, when prices are higher. A value-added product can be sold either directly to the consumer or to wholesalers.

Markets for mushrooms are available both locally and internationally. In addition to understanding the potential markets and supply chains, farmers should consider preparing a production plan to ensure continuous production. Farmers must plan their production in such a way that they produce only the amount they are able to sell. They can divide their production units into four sections such that each section has mushrooms at different growth stages at any one time. This way they will maintain a consistent supply to the market.

A mushroom growing enterprise is a high capital investments and a feasibility study looking at potential markets and supply chains should be done before starting. A general understanding of mushroom growing should be obtained through training or literature to ensure the best chance of success.

Mushroom full pdf...

Before starting to grow mushrooms, farmers should consider the availability of the necessary inputs which include: Mushroom house, spawn, substrate, supplements and equipment.

Read more...

Mushroom production can be grown through various methods from simple production system of low value to high capital investment enterprise. Mushroom can be grown The production system involves substrate preparation, composting, pasteurization and conditioning, spawning and incubation, casing, pinning and then harvesting.

There are a whole range of pests and diseases that can attack mushrooms. The most common diseases of mushroom includes: Bacterial blotch   Green mould;  die-back disease, dry bubble disease, wet bubble disease. The most common pests includes: Mites , Mushroom flies,  Mycophytic nematodes, phorid fly, sciarid fly.

Phases of cultivation of button and oyster mushrooms

Mushrooms do not rely on sunlight to grow and start as very small spores (reproductive structures like very, very tiny seeds in fungi). The spores will grow in the substrate to produce a network of fine white filaments called mycelium (portion of the mushroom that grows underground). From the mycelium the mushroom fruit is produced. This is the part that is harvested.

Read more...

Download List of Mushroom Diseases and Pests (PDF, 374KB)

Harvesting

Oyster about 30 days, button 30-40 days from spawning to harvesting.

Oyster harvesting is done when the mushroom ear is 7.5-10 cm in diameter, turgid and bright in colour. Button is picked at the young stage before opening. Repeated over 7-10 day cycles.

Aggregation

Aggregation is common with small scale producers for the purpose of economies of scale as well as for ease of processing and marketing.  Mushrooms are highly perishable and if possible should be sold the same day of harvest. Under cool conditions their shelf-life is 1-3 days. The shelf-life can be extended to up to 7 days under refrigeration at 10°C.

Fresh and dried mushrooms are collected from centers after farmers delivery and taken to a central place for sorting, grading packaging and delivery to the market. However, not all the delivered mushrooms are taken to the market but are used for value addition

Adding Value to Fresh Mushrooms

Adding value to fresh mushrooms usually means either developing a processed product, such as a sauce, or drying surplus mushrooms for sale in the off-season, when prices are higher. A value-added product can be sold either directly to the consumer or to wholesalers.

Mushroom can be preserved by drying, canning, pickling and grinding dry mushroom into powder for soups.

Enterprise Development

Individual small-scale producers, cooperatives and community groups can collaborate in production, marketing and value addition. It would be advisable to work in joint ventures with regional agro-industries and universities as they can assist with linking to market outlets and training.

Read more…

Mushroom products  include fresh, dried, canned and powdered.

Main markets are Supermarkets, Hotels, Individuals, etc. Currently the volumes produced are very low mainly due to lack of information to support both the production and consumption.

When considering producing mushrooms as a business, check on the following:

  1. Type and amount in demand by market outlets.
  2. Their price and availability.
  3. Current distributors and possibility of business relationship.
  4. Possibility of value addition.

Dried mushrooms ground and packaged in powder form for use either producing products development or direct application as a seasoner in other foods.

Currently there is no policy guiding mushroom production.

Listed below are the service providers and contact details.

Name Service Contact
Agricultural Information Centre, Nairobi (AIRC) Print materials eg 'Guide to Growing Mushroom', extension service
 
Website/email: agriinfocentre@yahoo.com; agrinfodata@yahoo.com
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Short-term training in mushroom production
 
Website: http://www.jkuat.ac.ke/
Juja Community Development Centre (JCDC Training  
State department of Agriculture Policy Development and Information dissemination  
AFFA - Horticulture    
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Research Website: http://www.kalro.org/
Hamusavi Mushroom Growers Cooperative Society Limited,
  • Farmers training
  • Provision of spawn
  • Marketing
Vihiga County, Mbale town, hamusavicoop@gmail.com
Kenya Papaya Products
  • Farmers training
  • Provision of spawn
Vihiga County, Mbale town, info@kenyapapayaproducts.co.ke