Mushrooms farming is often considered difficult by many. This has made many people shy away from it despite its profitability. We sought out to find farmers who had successfully done mushroom farming and that is when we met Nick and Daniel.
Before starting mushroom farming, the two had to battle challenges such as capital, lack of information among others but after planning and preparing for over five months, the two finally started the venture.
When we visited them, they were busy working in their mud walled mushroom house. This is where the magic happens. The 700 mushroom bag capacity house has its inner walls lined with black polythene with the floor covered with the same material. This is to preserve moisture as mushrooms require a certain amount of moisture to grow. Inside the house, are rows of wooden shelves where the mushroom bags are placed as shown in the image below. The sight is one to behold.
At the time of the visit, the two together with two other employees were busy harvesting as they had orders for their mushrooms in town among them a supermarket. We sought to find out how they sold their mushrooms as this is a major challenge for most farmers. As a matter of fact, more farmers quote marketing as a bigger challenge than even financing. This is mostly attributed to the reluctance of farmers to go out in search if the market . “At the beginning we had decide to sell the mushrooms to a broker but it was not long before we realized that the prices he bought at were far less than what we deserved. At this point we decide to take matters into our own hands and source for market ourselves. ” That decision, he explains was the best they ever made. They now sell a pallet for anywhere between ksh200-ksh250 as compared to the ksh140 they got from brokers.
The two encourage farmers to take an active role when it comes to marketing their products. They say most of their clients are restaurants with vegetarian dishes, supermarkets, and health conscious individuals. Mushrooms having 0 calories makes it extremely healthy and a great alternative to other unhealthy meals.
The two have since then mastered the art of mushroom farming and in a bid to encourage other farmers to practice mushroom farming, they are developing a complete curriculum that would help farmers understand every aspect of mushroom farming and be guided through the process. The two in conjunction with Farming Afrika will be holding training seminars one a month where farmers will be taken through the theory and practical sections of mushroom farming. The sessions will be held in the farm so as the learning farmers get to see the entire process physically. This is to ensure farmers get value for their money and practical examples have been considered to be a more effective way of learning.
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