Do you know that mushrooms can grow anywhere in the presence of a stable temperature, enough water supply, and shelter? Of a truth, Africa is blessed with the best soil and favorable climatic conditions. As an occupation among Africans, farming in Africa include plant and animal farming, but this article will focus on Mushroom Farming.
According to research, Mushroom farming is one of the lucrative farming jobs in Africa, and this article aims to teach us how to venture into it.
How to Start a Mushroom Farming Business in Africa
What is Mushroom Farming?
Mushroom farming is known as Mycology. It involves planting and tending to the fungus that produces edible or medicinal mushrooms. Fungus is a fleshy fruiting body that grows above the soil or on food sources such as a plank of decaying wood.
The best type of mushroom to grow in Africa is the edible oyster. It is a very lucrative business in the line of farming in Africa.
Importance of Mushroom to the human body
Mushroom is a nutritional food containing high protein and low cholesterol. It provides anti-aging nutrients and helps to prevent cancer. To ice the cake, it boosts the immune system. Although Mushrooms are nutritious, not all mushrooms are edible. Edible mushrooms include Lion Maine, Oyster, Portobellos, Shiitake, etc.
Steps to Take While Going into the Farming Business
There are five basic steps to take while going into the mushroom farming business. They include;
This is a primary step if you’re thinking about starting a sustainable mushroom farming business. It entails the sort of mushroom you want to cultivate, the quantity, the investment. More so, the soil temperature, the contamination protocol, and marketing. If all these are in check, you can move to the next step. If the planning is not solid, it might affect the result(cultivation).
The planning stage also involves budgeting. You have to map out a clear plan from day one, understand the cost and ensure you follow through your plan during the execution stage.
Get the instruments and materials needed:
Some of the materials required in mushroom farming include;
- The land with a shelter
- polythene bags,
- a clean surface or a sterilized table,
- measuring spoons or variables,
- any source of heat or heating pad,
- supply of water,
- mushrooms seeds or spawn,
- weighing scale,
- and labour.
For the proper growth of the mushroom, you will need supplements( like Keratin), Molasses. You will also need substrates(like maize cob, sawdust, cereal straw, etc.) and lime. To maintain proper hygiene with your plants, you will need soap, basin, hand gloves, dust coat, cap, and hand spray pump.
Preparing the Farm and Supplements
The first stage of mushroom production consists of a solid fermentation process. This process starts from spawning, vegetative mycelium growth under controlled environment to colonize mass of substrate before fructifying.
There are two major ways of producing substrates employed in mushroom cultivation. This includes composted materials achieved through pasteurization and fermentation. And Non-composted materials achieved through a mixture of different agricultural by-products.
Take note of the following, when preparing the farm and supplementation:
- Remove toxic particles and unwanted materials like specks of dirt.
- Ensure the land has a shelter covering it, with a minimal passage to moderate sunlight.
- Fumigation is a necessity because contamination might affect the growth of the mushroom.
- Measure the number of items to be used. That is the sawdust, the supplements, the spawn or seedlings.
- After that, remove unwanted particles from the sawdust to be used.
- Mix all the content thoroughly together, and then add water till it is moist.
Monitor and Regulate the Soil Temperature
Heat the soil using heat pads to raise the soil temperature for three weeks to about 70°F. Do it until a whitish threadlike growth or mycelium is spotted. Reduce the heat to 50°F to 60°F after the mycelium has been spotted.
Within the period and after the heating period, keep the soil moist and watch over it till the mushroom is ready to be cultivated. Harvest the mushroom when the cap is open, and they can be cut from the stem.
After the cultivation of mushrooms, the next step is marketing. Knowing your potential customers is a plus in maximizing your profit in mushroom farming business. If it is well packaged, you can sell it to supermarkets in large quantities.
Recently, some mushroom farmers has developed the concept of Restaurant where they sell mushroom pepper soup, mushroom soup and other soup and sauce prepared with the addition of mushroom.
From making your compost, to spawning and fructifying, mushroom farming provides an opportunity to every farmer to appreciate the beautiful of nature and also make sustainable income from the business.