An expert in agriculture, Mr Ademuwagun Johnson says cultivation of mushroom is a money-spinner in Nigeria.
Johnson, who is the co-owner of A & A Integrated Farms, in an interview in Abuja, on Tuesday said that most people were yet to explore its potential.
He expressed regrets that people have not explored the potential of mushroom farming in spite of the country’s conducive climate for high volume of mushroom production.
According to him, mushroom is an essential vegetable, which regularly grows in the forest with medicinal value.
“It is rich in protein, vitamin B, minerals, phosphorus and also has a large global demand.
“Mushrooms cultivation is not just stimulated by its various exploits in staple meals, but is also largely motivated by its wide range of uses.
“We, in the mushroom business, say the profitability of mushroom cultivation is comparatively higher than that of cassava, rice and cotton if given proper attention.
“Government can help farmers to replicate what China is doing by paying attention to mushrooms farming because it can reduce poverty and create up to five million jobs for youths,’’ Johnson said.
Johnson said that official statistics from the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), have shown that Nigeria produces 300 tonnes of mushrooms per year against a demand of 1,200 tonnes.
He said “this implies that consumers, homes, hotels and restaurants have to look to other countries to import it, since the local farmers cannot meet the demand.”
The expert added that, “it is cheaper to set up a mushroom farm because it requires little space to grow and can be started with N15,000 to N50,000 depending on how big you want your mushroom farm to be.
“There are some species of edible mushrooms, including oyster, shiitake, morel, psychedelic mushrooms, among others.
“Oyster mushrooms take less than 40 days to mature and a plot of farm with 1,000 bags platforms can give potential investors as much as 2 tonnes of produce and each kilogramme goes for an average price of N2,000 and this can translate to as much as N4 million in sales revenue.
“It is good to visit the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), to get some of the mushroom seeds and consult experts for more information before you start the farming.
“Nigeria is a good place for mushroom business as the climate is perfect for its cultivation and it can be grown all year round, creating employment, healthy living and wealth for farmers.
”As the market is expanding, companies can use the mushrooms to make beverages, soy and powder and for the value addition of diversifying by marketing mushrooms dried or pickled or as part of a food menu.
“Mushroom business is capable of improving the agricultural output as well as boosting the industrial development of the nation. ’’(