CategoriesMushrooms

Mushroom Farming in Uganda

Mushrooms in Uganda were grown on a small scale and sometimes they would sprout on their own in people’s homes but of recent, farmers have started growing them on a large scale for commercial purposes. Due to the health benefits gained from mushrooms, there is a steady but increasing market of mushroom products on the local market for the different varieties that are found on the market. The prices for mushrooms vary depending on the location you’ve bought them from but the standard price for a kilogram of mushrooms goes for shs 10, 000. Mushrooms are sensitive to almost everything around them and one small mistake might lead to poor yields.

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The mushroom varieties grown in Uganda

Oyster mushrooms

These were introduced into Uganda from Germany and they are the most edible mushrooms in the country. They are extremely easy to grow and they are grown in three phases which are the inoculation stage, the incubation stage and the fruiting stage. The types of oyster mushrooms include the phoenix oyster mushrooms (they have a brown or white colouring), the golden oyster mushroom (these are yellow in colour), pearl oyster mushrooms (also known as the grey mushrooms and they are the most common in Uganda) and the blue oyster mushrooms.

Shiitake mushrooms

These are originally from Asia and planted for their medicinal benefits for people. They can be grown on logs that are moist and can be prepared either when they are fresh or dry and put in groundnut paste.

The button mushrooms

These are fleshy and they have a meaty taste. They have a cocoa colouring and they can be grown in sawdust decomposed manure or on moist logs. After planting, the button mushrooms will appear after 10 days.

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What you need for mushroom growing

Carefully choosing the variety: the varieties are mainly determined by your target market and the type of environment where the mushrooms are to be planted. Some of the varieties that are commonly grown in Uganda include:

Land preparation:

  • Polythene bags

  • Saw dust

  • Rubber bands

  • Lots of space

  • PVC pipe

  • Humidifier

First decompose the sawdust with water and do this for about 5 to 7 days to reduce the acidity of the sawdust. Using low heat, sterilize the substrate in order to reduce the competition of nutrients with other organisms and after that, pace it into the polythene bags so it cools.

The next thing to do is to add the mushroom seeds to the substrate and this process is known as spawning. The bags are then taken to the incubation room where they will be kept for about 4 to 5 weeks before being transferred to the growth room. Note that the incubation room is always dark whereas the growth room has light which allows the mushrooms to grow healthily. Keep on spraying the mushrooms to keep them moist and the polythene bags should also be stacked together.

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Below are the conditions that favour mushroom growing

Light

when you have just mixed the saw dust with the seeds after decomposition, the mushrooms are placed in a room which has no access to light but after a 5 week, they are transferred to the light room where they grow till maturity. Note that they should not be put under direct sunlight since they do not absorb sunlight for growth but the light helps keep them moist.

Temperature

mushrooms need a temperature that ranges between 72 to 75 degrees especially the Shitake mushrooms whereas the button mushrooms need between 55 to 60 degrees. They do not grow in extremely hot temperatures and if you plant them in such an environment, you will need to cool them down with either a fan or any other method.

Nutrients and moisture

The place where the mushrooms are to be planted needs to be extremely moist because dryness leads to the drying of the mushrooms. You also need to make sure that the soil has enough nutrients for the proper growth of the mushrooms.

Why you should invest in mushroom growing

  • Mushrooms are used as medicine for treating colic in babies

  • Mushrooms are cooked as soup

  • It requires less capital to start mushroom growing in Uganda

  • You can earn 100% profits from growing mushrooms

  • It is a source of employment.

challenges faced while growing mushrooms

  • Poor transportation of the mushrooms which is caused by the poor roads in the country

  • Superstition among the locals who believe that mushrooms are cursed plants

  • Most of the mushroom seeds that are used by the farmers in Uganda are of bad quality

  • There is still a limited market for mushrooms in the country, especially locally.

Mushroom growing is extremely profitable with farmers earning over 3 million Ugandan shillings with each harvest. This is because there is an available market both on the local and international scene. Mushrooms are harvested every three months meaning you can even plant four times a year in the same plot of land and earn a lot.