Mushroom farming is one of the agribusinesses which combines both science and art for its operation. Mushroom cultivation has short gestation period of 2 to 4 months with low-medium start-up cost and quick return on investment. More importantly, mushroom business can be started anywhere on a small space which gives you the opportunity to grow fast.
Mushroom value chain basically involves, Mushroom Spawn (Seeds) Production, Mushroom Cultivation and Mushroom Processing. Each value chain can be carried out together or separately. Presently, international demand for packaged mushroom is increasing at over 20% CAGR.
Interestingly, mushroom can be dried or processed into various types of food and extracts. Aside from being added to soups and sauces, mushrooms can be converted into sweets, cookies, candies and various snacks. Packaging and branding is key in adding value to mushroom products. Mushroom provides healthy source of nutrients and a good replacement for animal protein. Mushroom is rich in protein, crude fibre, vitamins and minerals. Mushroom contains low cholesterol and low calories. It is equally medicinal and has several industrial applications. FAO recommends that one adult should consume about 200-800 grams edible mushroom per day. For elderly people and children, 200 and 500 grams are sufficient.
Technically, Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of macro-fungi (saprophytes) which can grow on dead matters or any agricultural wastes in a controlled environment. There are many types of mushrooms which differ in generic and specific name. Equally nutritional and health properties differs with species cultivated. Examples of economically cultivable mushrooms are; Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sp), Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), Shiitake (Lentinula edode), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) etc.
Oyster and Button mushrooms are both edible with fascinating medicinal and nutritional properties, however, Oyster mushrooms are preferred because of their numerous varietal expressions, easy cultivation, rapid growth rate, different ecological adaptation (can grow in diffuse natural light/low energy led light), easy drying and ability to grow on any agricultural waste. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is not edible but has important medicinal properties which includes; anti-cancer, anti-HIV, anti-heart attack (cholesterol lowering as well as anti-angiogenic), Hepato- and nephrotoprotective, hypoglycemic (anti-diabetes), antioxidants etc. Reishi has been used in Chinese and Japanese medicine.
By and large, choosing mushroom species, variety and quantity to produce should be based on climatic conditions, substrates available and market demand.
Need long lasting controlled environment for growing mushroom, consider Mushroom Greenhouse from Kaspharyn Solutions, Nigeria.