Aggregation and Processing of Mushrooms

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.

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