Mushroom Farming in Nigeria (2)
I have received several emails from people asking me how they can get mushroom seeds and I have been able to answer such questions but I know that it is not getting the seeds that matter but how you go about the cultivation.
I mean setting up your cropping house, how you arrange your colonized bags which I will talk about in this article.
Another important thing I will talk about in this post is how to manage your farm to be able to harvest daily and market them.
You need to know the basics of mushroom farming without which you cannot succeed as a mushroom farmer. So feel free to read through and ask questions where necessary.
To start a mushroom farm, you need a waste – land, I say a waste – land because you don’t plant mushroom in the soil, so there is no need to ask if the soil is fertile or not. Mushrooms can only grow on wood so to produce mushroom in large quantity, you plant them in saw dust and this sawdust is put in bags (colonized).
So what you need is a waste – land, you don’t even need fertilizer to make the sawdust fertile. You just need seed inoculated in the colonized bag containing the sawdust. Although if you buy the seed in colonized bags everything needed for the mushroom to grow has been done for you, you only need to arrange the colonized bags containing the seeds (spawn) horizontally or vertically.
You also need a structure to house your crops because the crops (mushrooms) are so delicate that they don’t need direct heat to survive. The structure will also need a plastic roof not aluminum, you don’t need blocks or concrete to build your cropping house, what you need is raffia or palm fronds which are by far cheaper than zinc or concrete.
You also need watering cans or sprinklers to water your crops daily.
After preparing your cropping house, using raffia or palm fronds, and plastic roofing sheets for the roof, you prepare shelves like the one in the image below, here the colonized bags are placed vertically but you can also place them horizontally that is lying them instead of standing them as they are, in the image.
These are the basics of mushroom farming.
You also need watering cans or hose with sprinklers with which to water you crops daily.
Mushroom farming is one of the cheapest agricultural ventures. You don’t need a large plot of land like other agricultural ventures.
It is not like every other agric ventures, so you must do it right. It is therefore necessary to know the basics before you start.
As a matter of fact it is important to have understanding of what you want to go into before you launch out.
Mushroom cannot be planted like any other crop, so these are necessary steps to take in order to succeed in your business as a mushroom farmer.
It’s important to know that mushroom unlike other crops can be harvested daily after one month incubation period and has a ready market here in Nigeria and for foreign exchange.
Mushroom cultivation is the most versatile and prolific agricultural venture all over the world. It is highly profitable as inputs are locally available, but to get the maximum profit that mushroom gives, as a starter you can forgo the laboratory preparation and incubation process and just buy the already inoculated spawns in colonized bags.
Colonized bags are bags that contain already inoculated spawns. To get maximum profit from mushroom cultivation all you need is buy colonized bags and put them in a room with a temperature of about 30oc for a period of thirty days for incubation. This is done because; if they are taken to the cropping house without incubating them at a lower temperature, they would die and not germinate properly because of the delicate nature of the spawn.
Having said that, I want to say here that the inputs needed for mushroom are very cheap and these include:
- A waste land
- Little capital to buy colonized bags and to prepare a small structure that can contain about 100 to 300 colonized bags. This structure can be prepared to make provision for the incubation room and the cropping house
- A hose with sprinkler or watering can
How to prepare your cropping house that will contain 100 – 300 colonized bags.
- Get a small piece of land ( could be a waste land of about 20×30 cm)
- Get few plastic roofing sheets, no sunlight is required for mushrooms to grow. Mushrooms cannot grow properly in a hot environment so the cropping and incubation houses must be prepared in such a way that will be conducive for the mushrooms to grow.
- There should be regular provision of water to water the crops on a daily basis. If there is tap a hose with sprinkler should be provided to make watering of the crops easy. But if there is no tap then a watering can should be used for watering the crops
- When building the cropping house shelves should be constructed to enable you place the colonized bags horizontally or vertically. While the shelves for incubation room should be arranged in a way that the bags can be placed vertically
- Palm fronds should be used for the body of the cropping house
- The colonized bags should be cut open at the edge to drain excess water.
Having taken the steps above all you need do now is buy the already colonized bags, place them vertically in the incubation room and leave them for about 30 days before transferring them to the cropping house. In the cropping house the bags should be placed horizontally and vertically facing the cut edge down wards to drain excess water whenever the crops are watered. You can start harvesting after one week.
There is a ready market at home and abroad. So mushroom can be packaged fresh or dry and sold in super – markets and other local markets. They can also be exported after drying.
Please note that after harvesting mushroom for about 3 to 4 months the colonized bags should be removed and replaced with new ones because there will be diminishing returns i.e. the mushroom will no longer yield much, the mushrooms will become smaller and as such they need to be replaced with new ones. The spent substrate (used colonized bags) can be used as organic manure for planting other crops and for animal feed.
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