MUSHROOMS: THE NEW OIL
Mushrooms are edible fungi grown on decaying matter called substrate. They are umbrella-like plants found all over. They are not actually plants they have their own kingdom called fungi. Mushrooms contain high levels of protein, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals making it an ideal diet.
There are two classifications of mushrooms: the edible ones and the poisonous ones also known as toadstools. Why am I writing about mushrooms you might ask, well cultivating mushrooms are a sure way to change your financial situation in 12 weeks you could be smiling to the bank as a mushroom farmer. This article is to enlighten why you should consider mushroom farming.
Mushroom cultivation does not require a lot of space. Unlike many other forms of plant cultivation, mushrooms do not require acres or hectare of land. All that is required is a room and some substrate and you are good to go.
Remember, substrate is decaying organic matter, which means you do not need fertilizers and other additional costs, as it is required in plant cultivation. All that is required is an environment that you can control the temperature and humidity because this affects the rate of development of the mushrooms.
Imagine earning dollars for growing mushrooms, yes United States Dollars for growing mushrooms, that’s what many mushroom farmers earn by exporting their produce to Europe, United States even as far as China they is an ever ready market for your produce as long as your mushrooms meet international standard.
It is a developing market in Nigeria, which means it is not as saturated as other types of agriculture like poultry, aquaculture or even maize and cassava cultivation. No matter how much volume you produce, there is a market ready to buy from you.
You do not need a lot of training to be a mushroom farmer. You might say I did not study agriculture how can I venture into mushroom production. In response, I say to you all you have to do is learn either from an existing farmer, or from various learning materials on the internet and you are on your way to being a farmer yourself.
The most important things required are the spore or spawn (which is like the seed), quality substrate and an environment that you can control the humidity and temperature and you are good to go.
There many types of edible mushroom, the common ones in Nigeria are; the button mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus), oyster mushroom (Pleutorus Spp), shaggy mushroom amongst many. Getting quality spores used to be quite difficult in the past. Now however, there are organizations that have worked on producing these spores in large quantities for commercial mushroom farmers.
Also, the material for producing substrate are waste organic matter like rotten wood, maize cobs, saw dust maize husk etc which are allowed to ferment and then pasteurized (heated in a special process to kill harmful bacteria). The substrate is then sterilized and allowed to cool before being introduced to room where the mushroom spores will be grown.
Harvest can take up to six weeks and they are best stored in paper sheets so that all their water can be absorbed. They are put in baskets where they can be aerated.
Mushrooms required little or no sunlight (depending on the specie) because they do not photosynthesize (using solar energy to make food); they require little labour because they require little space and they so much in demand it’s virtually impossible not have a demand at very lucrative prices.
If you are thinking of venturing into a new business that requires little capital and high reward seriously consider being a mushroom farmer.