By Prince Arinze Onebunne
My personal experience as an agric entrepreneur has proved that farming Mushroom, Antelope, Quail, Rabbit, Grasscutter, Snail, Laboratory rat and Guinea pig is second nature. In the particular case of mushroom cultivation, its production gives small holder farmers a big chance to increase their income, improve their health and offers an alternative means of livelihood to urban and rural farmers. The process of growing mushroom is one of the easiest ways to earn a living and not much physical strength is required in its production.
The potentials in mushroom farming makes it an investor’s delight as a viable money making option. Investment in mushroom production will in the long run contribute to food security, wealth, health and employment creation.
Starting a mushroom farm is a potentially lucrative way of getting into the farming business. Its cultivation is also regarded as one of the most science-based branches of agriculture and horticulture. Growing mushroom is a rewarding experience.
Not only can it be used for your dining table, you might also be able to develop great relationships with individuals, Hotels and food caterers; if you have a small space to create a small farm.
This kind of farming is highly remunerative enterprise with quick returns.
There are many types of mushrooms and they can be categorized into four: Saprotrophic, Mycorrhizal, Parasitic, and Entophytic.
Edible mushrooms are considered as healthy food because their mineral content is higher than that of meat or fish and most vegetables. The protein content of fresh mushrooms is about twice that of vegetables and four times that of oranges.
Mushrooms contain proteins which have all the nine amino-acids that are essential for the health of human beings and they are especially rich in lysine and leucine, which are lacking in most staple cereal foods.
Scientist have also indicated that mushrooms are devoid of starch and low in calories and other carbohydrates. It is clear that apart from the nutritional value of mushrooms, they have potential medicinal benefits and are also an ideal food for the diabetics and obese people.
The health benefits of mushrooms also include improvement in the body’s immune system and the prevention of all forms of cancers and tumors.
Many opportunities abound in the growth of mushrooms as many hospitality industries in the country still import the product to add to their meals. Majority of big hotels in Nigeria have mushrooms in their daily menu, but this mushrooms came from abroad, which means local production will have a ready market. There is opportunity to even export mushroom, once you can produce good quality that can be exported to Europe and America.
Growing mushroom locally would complement government’s effort to turn waste to wealth, including the production of something that could be highly nutritious.
Production of mushrooms involve mainly the use of agricultural waste without the use of chemicals and it appears safe.
Nigerian job seekers can succeed in overcoming the challenges of poverty and unemployment through micro, small and medium scale rat breeding. But first we must empower our people with the right resources and skills; then they’ll be able to create a brighter future for themselves and for the country.
To this extent, Jovana Farms is organizing series of seminars and workshops through out Nigeria so as to enable those interested in engaging in the business to acquire the required skills.
More farmers are of late going into the farming of mushrooms, a neglected and forgotten healthy food, which is not only improving the financial status of the producers but the health of the consumers as well.
The business of mushroom cultivation in Nigeria is now growing at a feverish pitch attracting investors who are considering it either as a complimentary business proposition or as a main and sustainable revenue stream.
But either proposition has potentials to earn decent returns. This could be taken to be a fair confirmation of the position that, run professionally, mushroom farming may well be a key wealth creation option to consider in the country.
Local demand for mushroom is increasing as the people become more health conscious by avoiding the consumption of red meat that are loaded with cholesterol.
Mushroom is not an entirely new food item on the table of Nigerians, it was at a point relegated to the background food for rural dwellers, but today is regarded as food for the rich because of its high cost.
The technology for the cultivation of mushroom species could be easily adopted by individuals, co-operative societies, families, famers, schools in the rural and urban centres without difficulties. The cultivation of mushroom can be done all year round as sources of the mushrooms are from agricultural wastes which are always available in abundance in Nigeria.
Additionally, while a kilo of chicken goes for N700 on an average in Nigeria, a kilo of mushroom is about N1,700. Mushroom beds need a dark room for only 14-18 days while harvesting is usually 4-6 days after opening the bags, mushroom primordia begin to form. Mature mushrooms become ready for harvesting in another 3-4 days.
You can get started, without the costly items the so-called experts say you should have with about N80,000 one can kick-off with twenty mushroom platforms constructed with scrap materials by a road side carpenter. They are cultivated in a small floor space.
Mushroom farming is a miracle waiting to happen in Nigeria agric business.
Jovana farms organizes nationwide sensitization training seminars on the practical ways of making it through small scale farming.
Visit www.jovanafarm.com or www.facebook.com/jovanafarm for more details.
Source: PM News
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