Mushroom farming in Kenya has gained popularity as a more health-conscious generation embraces consuming this diet. Mushroom delicacy is rich in proteins, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, Selenium, and many more that help in boosting the bodyโ€™s immune system.

Mushroom farming in kenya farmers trend

According to the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), Kenya produces 500 tonnes of mushrooms per year, of which 476 tons are button mushrooms, against an annual demand of 1200 tonnes. This means there is a high demand for the crop.ย  A kilogram of mushroom is priced at between Sh600 and Sh850 at the current 2023 market price.

Before you start to grow mushrooms, you should consider the following:

  1. Potential markets and supply chains
  2. Source(s) of high quality spawn (mushroom ‘seeds’)
  3. Availability of substrate (material on which mushrooms grow)
  4. Availability of supplements (additional nutrients to the substrate)
  5. Production plan to ensure continuous production

Climatic and Soil Requirements for Mushroom Farming in Kenya

Mushroom farming in Kenya requires the right climatic and soil conditions to be successful.

The ideal temperature for growing mushrooms is between 16 and 22 degrees Celcius, so you will need to ensure your farm has the optimal environment for optimal growth.

The soil should also be well drained, with a pH level between 6 and 7. This is important because the mushroom mycelium needs plenty of oxygen in order to survive, which it canโ€™t get if the soil is too dense or acidic.

Good soil drainage will also prevent waterlogging which can inhibit growth. Youโ€™ll also want to make sure that thereโ€™s plenty of organic matter in your soil, as mushrooms are fungi and need a steady supply of nutrition in order to thrive. Just remember, even if you have these ideal conditions, itโ€™s essential that you monitor your farm daily to ensure everything is going smoothly.

Different Varieties of Mushrooms in Kenya

Mushroom cultivation in Kenya spans a variety of species, each offering distinct flavors, textures, and production levels. As the demand for these delectable fungi continues to grow, let’s explore the production per each variety and estimated costs of production in Kenyan Shillings (Kshs) assuming you have structure in place.

Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus):

  • Production: Button mushrooms are known for their relatively high yield. Under controlled conditions, a single square meter of growing area can yield around 10-15 kilograms of mushrooms over several flushes.
  • Estimated Cost: Initial setup costs can vary, but a basic small-scale cultivation setup might require an investment of around 50,000 to 80,000 Kshs. Ongoing operational costs include substrate, labor, and utilities.

Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus spp.):

  • Production: Oyster mushrooms are prized for their quick growth and high yields. Depending on the species and cultivation method, a square meter of growing space can yield anywhere from 15-25 kilograms or more per flush.
  • Estimated Cost: Similar to button mushrooms, the initial setup costs for oyster mushrooms can range from 50,000 to 80,000 Kshs. Ongoing expenses include substrate, labor, and utilities.

Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes):

  • Production: Shiitake mushrooms have a slower growth cycle compared to some other varieties. Yields can vary, but a well-managed cultivation area might produce around 2-4 kilograms per square meter per year.
  • Estimated Cost: Shiitake cultivation may require a slightly higher initial investment due to the need for specialized growing environments like log cultivation. Start-up costs could range from 100,000 to 150,000 Kshs.

Ganoderma Mushroom (Ganoderma spp.):

  • Production: Ganoderma mushrooms are primarily cultivated for their potential medicinal benefits. Yields can be lower compared to culinary varieties, with a potential range of 0.5-2 kilograms per square meter per year.
  • Estimated Cost: Cultivating Ganoderma mushrooms may involve higher initial costs due to specialized growing conditions and longer cultivation cycles. Estimated investment could range from 150,000 to 250,000 Kshs.

Paddy Straw Mushroom (Volvariella volvacea):

  • Production: Paddy straw mushrooms are known for their ability to thrive in warm, tropical climates. Yields can vary, but a well-managed cultivation area might yield around 3-5 kilograms per square meter per crop cycle.
  • Estimated Cost: Initial setup costs for paddy straw mushrooms could be similar to oyster mushrooms, ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 Kshs.

White Jelly Mushroom (Tremella fuciformis):

  • Production: White jelly mushrooms have a unique gelatinous texture. Yields can vary, but a square meter of growing space might produce around 2-4 kilograms per flush.
  • Estimated Cost: Estimated costs for cultivating white jelly mushrooms could be similar to shiitake mushrooms, ranging from 80,000 to 150,000 Kshs.

Steps In Mushroom Farming In Kenya

Mushrooms can grow in almost every part of our country provided there is shelter, reliable water supply and stable temperature in the range of 15 to 30 degrees.

Step 1: Getting Started

Of course, you need some land to plant your mushroom crop. A 1/8 th acre piece of land would be adequate to set up a large farm that can produce as much as 2 tonnes of mushrooms after every 2 months (using shelf-frame method).

Step 2: Build a Simple House

Once you have secured a good piece of land, you will need to build a simple mud-house and a few wooden shelves to utilize the vertical space available. Your local carpenter can help you with this and you can improvise on locally available materials to save on construction cost. (Note: Make sure the house is well aerated to allow proper circulation of air).

Step 3: Look for the substrate

The first and most important supply you will need is the substrate. Substrate is basically the substance on which mushrooms grow. This can be forest soil, wheat straw, bean straw, millet straw or even rice straw. Make sure this is sterilized as the slightest bacterial infection can ruin your entire farm. A bale of wheat straw costs Ksh200 and you will need about 20 bales.

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Step 4: Invest In Nylon Bags

You will need small bags to prepare the seedlings and also big bags for the final planting. Small bags like the ones shopkeepers use to package 2KG sugar normally cost about Ksh100 for 200 pieces. Bigger bags can cost as much as Ksh15 per piece and you will require about 1000 of them in a 1/8 th acre farm.

Step 5: Invest In Good Hygiene

As you will discover through farm training courses, good hygiene is important in a mushroom farm. You will therefore need to buy things like hand gloves, methylated spirit and cotton wool. A box full of gloves costs less than Ksh1,000 โ€“ same for methylated spirit and cotton wool. Other additional supplies that may be needed include drinking straws (Ksh1,000) and a knapsack sprayer (Ksh5,000 est).

Stages In mushroom Farming In Kenya

Mushroom production involves several distinct stages, each crucial for ensuring successful cultivation and a bountiful harvest. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced mushroom grower, understanding these stages is essential for optimizing your mushroom farming process. Here are the key stages of mushroom production:

1. Substrate Preparation:

  • Substrate refers to the material on which mushrooms grow. Common substrates include straw, wood chips, sawdust, or a mixture of these. The substrate needs to be sterilized or pasteurized to eliminate competing microorganisms and ensure a clean environment for mushroom growth.
  • Depending on the mushroom species, the substrate may need to be supplemented with nutrients to promote mycelium growth.

2. Inoculation:

  • Inoculation involves introducing mushroom spores or mycelium (the vegetative part of the fungus) into the sterilized substrate. This step kickstarts the colonization of the substrate by the mushroom mycelium.
  • Inoculation can be done using spore syringes, liquid cultures, or grain spawn.

3. Spawn Run:

  • The spawn run is the phase during which the mycelium spreads and colonizes the substrate. The mycelium consumes nutrients and forms a network of thread-like structures.
  • During this stage, proper environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity, are crucial for promoting healthy mycelial growth.

4. Casing:

  • Casing involves adding a layer of a moisture-retaining material, such as peat moss, over the colonized substrate. This layer helps regulate moisture levels and encourages the formation of mushroom pins (primordia).

5. Pinning:

  • Pinning is the emergence of tiny mushroom pins from the casing layer. These pins develop into mature mushrooms.
  • Maintaining high humidity and proper air exchange is essential during this stage to support pin development.

6. Fruiting:

  • Fruiting is the stage when mushrooms mature and grow to their full size. Proper air circulation, temperature, and humidity are crucial for achieving optimal fruiting conditions.
  • Some mushrooms may go through multiple fruiting cycles, known as flushes, which can produce several harvests from the same substrate.

7. Harvesting:

  • Harvesting involves carefully picking mature mushrooms from the substrate. Mushrooms should be harvested when they are fully developed but before they release spores, which can affect the quality of the fruiting body.
  • Use clean, sanitized tools to prevent contamination and damage to the mushrooms.

8. Post-Harvest Care:

  • After harvesting, mushrooms should be cleaned gently using a soft brush or cloth to remove debris.
  • Proper handling and storage are essential to maintain freshness and extend shelf life.

9. Spore Printing and Cultivation:

  • For certain mushroom species, collecting spores from mature mushrooms and using them to inoculate new substrates can be part of the production cycle.
  • Spores can be used to create new cultures for future cultivation.

Costs of Mushroom Seeds and Substrate In Kenya

1. SPAWN (MUSHROOM SEEDS)

we supply the following grain spawn:

  • Button spawn, Agaricus bisphorus, agaricus bitorquise(Warm weather) @ Ksh. 600 litre.
  • Oyster – @ Ksh. 600 Per Litre
  • Shiitake – @ Ksh. 1000 per Litre
  • Ganoderma – @ Ksh. 1000 Per Litre, Or any other spawn on request.

2. READY SUBSTRATE FOR SALE:

  • Button Substrate @ Ksh. 55 per kg for 10kg bag = Ksh. 550, inclusive of casing soil.
  • Oyster substrate @ Ksh. 90 per kg.
  • Shiitake and Ganoderma substrates @ Ksh. 100 per kg for 2kg bag= Ksh. 200
  • Casing soil – @ Ksh. 6 per kg

The Dos

  1. Keep the growing environment clean and sterile always
  2. Itโ€™s advisable to experiment with a small farm before venturing into a big farm
  3. Consult an agriculture extension officer in your area for further advice
  4. Seek mentorship from farmers who are already doing this to understand what challenges they face
  5. Explore your market options in advance to avoid last minute surprises and disappointments

The Donโ€™ts

  1. Donโ€™t take shortcuts, mushrooms are very delicate crops and you can lose your entire investment if you donโ€™t follow professional advice in handling them
  2. Donโ€™t buy seeds (spawns) from cheaper sources, always buy from reputable sellers e.g. JKUAT
  3. Donโ€™t forget that cleanliness is at the center of your farmโ€™s productivity (again, and again)
  4. Donโ€™t be in a rush, take your time, like in any other business mushrooms take time to establish
  5. Donโ€™t stop learning, keep researching and keep enquiring to learn the best practices

Mushroom farming in kenya farmers trend 2023

Mushroom Market and Buyers In Kenya

Here are some of the mushroom buyers in Kenya:

1. Mushroom Blue Kenya

The Mushroom Blue farm is located in Limuru with a shop in Kikuyu where they collect, grade and brand the mushrooms collected from the farmers. The mushrooms are latter sold to various places.

Most farmers directly supply the mushroom to Mushroom Blue Kenya. Farmers are required to fill a form that captures all their information including the quantity of mushroom they expect to harvest and bank details.

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To get in touch, call 0774 187 905

2. Richmum International Ltd.

Richman International is based in Nairobi Westlands

Call 0739 262 001 or email atย [email protected]ย to get in touch.

3. Mushrooms by ANNE Kimathi

It is located in Imenti House, Tom Mboya Street, shop c-6, Nairobi, Kenya.

They are open seven days a week (Monday to Sunday) from 08:00-17:00.

Contact: 0721 443198

4. Mushroom Guru Kenya

They are located in Kabati, Kenol, Murangโ€™a and Nairobi Kenya.

Apart from buying mushroom in large scale from farmers and distributing them to the large market, Mushroom Guru Kenya also sell mushroom seeds better known as spawns.

They also grow mushroom and educate the communities on easy and simple mushroom production.

Contact: 0731 079150

5. Jolin Farm

They mainly educate and guide farmers on button mushroom farming. They are located in Dagoretti South in Nairobi, Kenya

Contact: 0705 880312

6. ELIMA Mushroom

They buy pure organic and chemical free mushrooms that they then sell to the ready market. Additionally, they also grow mushrooms under excellent and hygienic conditions.

Contact: 0725 498252

7. Wega Mushrooms

Wega mushrooms is located in Nairobi. They deliver fresh mushroom in both retail and wholesale. They also provide training on how to grow pure organic mushrooms.

Call: 0789 513420

8. Mushrooms Kenya

This is a leading mushroom farm in Kenya that produces quality organic edible mushrooms.

They also provide mentorship and training in addition to farming consultancy.

It is located in Karen Nairobi, Kenya.

Phone: 0705 210033

9. DimJim Mushrooms

They grow and sell fresh button mushrooms.

They are open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

DimJim are located in Nakuru, Sigor Road.

Call: 0736 232478 or 0710825626

10. Syenta Mushroom Enterprise

They farm and sell fresh, healthy and nutritious mushrooms.

They are located in Nairobi, Ngong area.

Contact: 0710 451454

Other mushroom buyers in Kenya include: Icara Farms, Grand African Mushrooms, High Garden Mushrooms, Mush-tech mushrooms, and lastly, Mamaโ€™s Mushrooms.

FAQs

  1. What are the different types of mushrooms that can be grown in Kenya?

There are many different types of mushrooms that can be grown in Kenya, including:

  • Button mushrooms: These are the most common type of mushroom grown in Kenya. They are white and have a mild flavor.
  • Oyster mushrooms: These mushrooms have a slightly chewy texture and a nutty flavor. They are a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Shiitake mushrooms: These mushrooms have a rich, umami flavor. They are a good source of antioxidants and other nutrients.
  • Enoki mushrooms: These mushrooms are thin and delicate. They have a mild flavor and are often used in stir-fries and salads.
  • Portobello mushrooms: These mushrooms are large and meaty. They have a strong flavor and are often grilled or roasted.
  1. What are the requirements for mushroom farming in Kenya?

The requirements for mushroom farming in Kenya vary depending on the type of mushroom being grown. However, some general requirements include:

  • A suitable location: Mushrooms need a cool, humid environment to grow. The ideal temperature for mushroom growth is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.
  • Adequate space: Mushrooms need space to grow. The amount of space required will depend on the type of mushroom being grown and the scale of the operation.
  • Good quality spawn: Spawn is the material that is used to start a mushroom crop. It is important to use good quality spawn to ensure a successful crop.
  • Proper substrate: The substrate is the material that the mushrooms will grow on. It is important to use a substrate that is suitable for the type of mushroom being grown.
  • Good hygiene practices: Mushrooms are susceptible to pests and diseases. It is important to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
  1. What is the cost of starting a mushroom farming business in Kenya?

The cost of starting a mushroom farming business in Kenya will vary depending on the scale of the operation. However, a small-scale mushroom farming business can be started with as little as 100,000 Kenyan shillings.

  1. How much can I earn from mushroom farming in Kenya?

The income from mushroom farming in Kenya can vary depending on the yield, the market price, and the cost of production. However, a good mushroom farmer can earn up to 1 million Kenyan shillings per acre per year.

  1. What are the challenges of mushroom farming in Kenya?

Some of the challenges of mushroom farming in Kenya include:

  • Pests and diseases: Mushrooms are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, such as aphids, gnats, and molds.
  • Market volatility: The price of mushrooms can fluctuate wildly, making it difficult to predict profits.
  • Lack of knowledge and skills: There is a lack of knowledge and skills about mushroom farming in Kenya. This can make it difficult to start and run a successful mushroom farming business.
  • Lack of access to finance: It can be difficult to obtain finance for mushroom farming in Kenya. This is because banks are often reluctant to lend money to small businesses.
  1. How do I prevent pests and diseases in my mushroom crop?

There are a number of ways to prevent pests and diseases in your mushroom crop, including:

  • Using certified spawn: Certified spawn is less likely to contain pests and diseases.
  • Using good quality substrate: A good quality substrate will be less likely to harbor pests and diseases.
  • Practicing good hygiene: This includes washing your hands regularly, disinfecting equipment, and removing any infected mushrooms.
  • Using pesticides and fungicides as needed: Pesticides and fungicides can be used to control pests and diseases. However, it is important to use them only when necessary and to follow the instructions on the label.
  1. How do I irrigate my mushroom crop?
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Mushrooms need regular irrigation, especially during the hot season. The best way to irrigate your mushroom crop is to use drip irrigation. This will help to prevent the spread of diseases.

  1. How do I harvest my mushroom crop?

Mushrooms are ready to harvest when the caps are fully open. To harvest your mushroom crop, use a sharp knife to cut the mushrooms off at the base.

  1. How do I store my mushroom crop?

Mushrooms can be stored for several days in a cool, dark place. To store your mushroom crop, place them in a single layer in a basket or bin. The bin should be placed in a cool, dark place with good air circulation.

  1. How do I store my mushroom crop for a longer period of time?

Mushrooms can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator. To store your mushroom crop in the refrigerator, place them in a single layer in a sealed container. The container should be placed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

  1. Where can I buy mushroom spawn in Kenya?

Mushroom spawn can be bought from most agricultural stores in Kenya. You can also buy it online from a number of reputable seed suppliers.

  1. Where can I get more information on mushroom farming in Kenya?

There are a number of resources available to help you learn more about mushroom farming in Kenya. You can contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, or visit one of the many agricultural research stations in Kenya. You can also find a number of books and websites on mushroom farming.

  1. What are the government policies on mushroom farming in Kenya?

The government of Kenya supports mushroom farming through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Providing subsidies for inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers
  • Offering training and extension services
  • Facilitating access to markets
  1. How can I access government support for mushroom farming in Kenya?

You can access government support for mushroom farming in Kenya by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The Ministry has a number of programs that support mushroom farmers, including:

  • The Mushroom Seed Subsidy Program
  • The Mushroom Training and Extension Program
  • The Mushroom Market Development Program
  1. What are the risks involved in mushroom farming in Kenya?

The risks involved in mushroom farming in Kenya include:

  • Pests and diseases: Mushrooms are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, such as aphids, gnats, and molds.
  • Market volatility: The price of mushrooms can fluctuate wildly, making it difficult to predict profits.
  • Lack of knowledge and skills: There is a lack of knowledge and skills about mushroom farming in Kenya. This can make it difficult to start and run a successful mushroom farming business.
  • Lack of access to finance: It can be difficult to obtain finance for mushroom farming in Kenya. This is because banks are often reluctant to lend money to small businesses.
  1. How can I mitigate the risks involved in mushroom farming in Kenya?

There are a number of ways to mitigate the risks involved in mushroom farming in Kenya, including:

  • Using certified spawn: Certified spawn is less likely to contain pests and diseases.
  • Using good quality substrate: A good quality substrate will be less likely to harbor pests and diseases.
  • Practicing good hygiene: This includes washing your hands regularly, disinfecting equipment, and removing any infected mushrooms.
  • Using pesticides and fungicides as needed: Pesticides and fungicides can be used to control pests and diseases. However, it is important to use them only when necessary and to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Insuring your crop: Insurance can help to protect your business from financial losses in the event of a crop failure.
  1. What are the future prospects for mushroom farming in Kenya?

The future prospects for mushroom farming in Kenya are good. The demand for mushrooms is increasing, both domestically and internationally. The government is also supporting mushroom farming through a number of initiatives. As a result, there are good opportunities for mushroom farmers in Kenya to make a profit.

  1. What are the challenges to the growth of mushroom farming in Kenya?

The challenges to the growth of mushroom farming in Kenya include:

  • Lack of access to land: Mushrooms require a cool, humid environment, which is not always available in Kenya.
  • Lack of access to credit: It can be difficult to obtain finance for mushroom farming in Kenya. This is because banks are often reluctant to lend money to small businesses.
  • Lack of knowledge and skills: There is a lack of knowledge and skills about mushroom farming in Kenya. This can make it difficult to start and run a successful mushroom farming business.
  • Market volatility: The price of mushrooms can fluctuate wildly, making it difficult to predict profits.

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