So many years ago, mushroom was not cultivated. Rather, it was picked up from forests or cold areas in farms. But with the increase in deforestation and urbanization in recent years, mushroom is now being cultivated and this ensures that we continue to enjoy this wonderful delicacy. It is no doubt becoming a potentially untapped gold-mine in the world today. An amazing fact about this business is that it is less stressful and generally needs minimal capital. In this way, you can do it alongside your main job as it does not require too much of your time.
Mushroom is a fungus that has the shape of an umbrella. For people who enjoy foraging for food in the wild, there are a wide variety of mushrooms to choose from. Of these many species, almost all are edible such as button, oyster, porcini and chanterelles. While the numbers vary and are debatable, only 250 are considered significantly poisonous such as the death cap mushroom.
Learning how to grow mushrooms for any reason can be very fulfilling and engaging. The more you practice growing mushrooms, the more there is to learn. Your journey will be long because there’s an endless variety of new techniques you’ll have to play with along the way. But as you advance, and you start to grow more mushrooms than you can possibly handle, you may start to wonder how you can turn your small-scale hobby into a fully operational mushroom farming business.
Hopefully, this introductory post can help you decide whether or not mushroom farming is right for you.
Know your product
In the first place, you need to consider if you need to cultivate only one species of mushroom or different species. Either way has its points of interest and drawbacks. However, having a good knowledge of the product you want to commercialize is vital. You need to have a mastery of the product, especially for marketing purposes.
It’s not enough to know how the mushroom looks like and where it can be found or cultivated. Other information such as the nutritional value of the species you are cultivating is a plus.
Learn how to grow mushroom
Mushroom cultivation like any other agricultural activity has a procedure you must follow in order to guarantee a successful production. Thus, it is important to first learn how mushroom is cultivated before you think of cultivating it for business.
In Cameroon, there are a number of organizations/enterprises that offer training courses or seminars on mushroom cultivation like Mushroom Growers Enterprise, Mushroom Cameroon and for females, SheSkill’d that focuses on the production of oyster mushroom.
If you do not have sufficient time to go through a course or attend a seminar, there are many resources available online for free that can be of help. Ensure that you learn how to develop the particular species whose spawns you can easily get in your area.
Choose a suitable location
Another thing you should consider is the location of the farm with respect to your target consumers. If the target consumers are the locals who prefer fresh mushrooms, then you will need to locate this farm close by. If your home has enough space outside, cultivating it at home is also a good option.
Wherever you plan to start the cultivation, it is important that you are able to control the temperature, humidity, and light as mushrooms do not require light to grow. Alternatively, a humidifier and a dehydrator can be used to create a conducive environment for the mushroom in situations where you cannot find a very conducive place.
Secure funds for your mushroom business
A mushroom business is relatively less costly to start. To raise the funds you’d need to kickstart the production of this delicacy, you can make use of your savings, support from family and friends who believe in you. Another way could be to make use of crowdfunding. Whatever the case may be, I advise you just start small.
Get your materials
In mushroom production, the two most important materials are the growing medium and spores. Ensure that every material you get is very clean as the least dirt will contaminate the mushroom given that it’s a fungus and that could cost you your whole production concernment or cause serious health issues to your customers. Surely, you don’t want that to happen. The different types of growing medium include sawdust, maize husk, just to name a few and this can be combined with kernel cake. For spores, you can get a bottle of it at 1000frs.
Sell your mushrooms
Who are the mushroom consumers in your community? Which restaurant or hotel around has mushroom on their menu? How much can you sell a kilo that will allow you to secure customers while still making a profit? These are some of the questions you need to answer before getting into a mushroom business.
Mushroom takes 21 days to sprout and after this, you can harvest continuously for 3 months. It’s always advisable to have available customers to buy before you harvest as most people like it fresh.
Yeah! And then, you are ready to start.
I hope this article has set the ball rolling and helped you to see just how easy it is to set up a mushroom business. This is one of the reasons I believe lots of small mushroom farms and businesses will pop up almost everywhere in the next few years. So, if you’re thinking of starting one, now is the time.