One of the crops considered to yield good returns without requiring big capital is mushroom, but which many farmers ignore.
Chief Michael Awunor, president of the National Mushroom Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the plant has “the highest return on investment.”
During the inauguration of the association along with nine other commodity associations by the Federal Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Investment in Abuja, mushroom farmers showcased a number of products from the value chain.
Where to get seed to start a farm
Through the association, intending farmers can get the seeds to start farming.
“Mushrooms have seeds, which is why the association is here. We have already started an enlightenment campaign on how to grow mushrooms. The most interesting thing about mushroom is that it can grow on waste, things you don’t need like sawdust, the waste part of coconut fibres, cassava peels, rice husks, and all those things that you will pay money to throw away. Most of them are what mushrooms grow on,” he said.
“The association has the key, it is important that if you want to go into mushroom farming you contact the association, we will put you through, we will give you the right seed, give you the right training, give you a lot of things that will aid your farm with a very little cost.”
The bottom line
With pharmaceutical experts, like Professor Maurice Iwu, showing so much interest in buying mushroom from Nigerian farmers, young Nigerians should seize the opportunity to go into mushroom farming.
As Chief Awunor said, “I am telling you mushroom is capable of changing the unemployment situation we have now in Nigeria. Mushroom is capable of changing our non-oil revenue generation. Mushroom has medicinal and nutritional value, so a lot of revenue can be generated from it.”
Market-approach to create more opportunities
Chief Awunor explained what the association was up to: “The strategy we are adopting now is a market-approach strategy. That means the market should be there waiting before the produce is out from the farm. If you visit our stand, you will see we have the mushroom pad, mushroom rose, mushroom sprinkles, and we are working to have mushroom noodles and it is wonderful. You saw our mushroom ‘kilishi’. These are things that are very healthy. We are also going to work with the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria to also begin to look at some of the drugs they use mushroom to produce. Instead of importing the mushroom, they should let us grow it for them.”
The association said the mushroom market was inexhaustible, adding that they were working to have a new mushroom policy in collaboration with the relevant ministries and MDAs.
“As it stands now, mushroom is only for the rich; only the rich can go to places like Transcorp where you can have mushroom soup at an expensive price. Only the rich can go to Shoprite, Grand Square and the supermarkets to buy a small pack of mushroom for N5,000; only the rich can do that.”
According to him, the association is encouraging its members and would-be members that with less than N250,000 one could set up a mushroom farm with simple technology.