Mushroom growing has attracted many youths and women because of its profitability and low capital required to set the farm, but many have made losses because of the poor post-harvest handling methods.
Abel Kiddu, one of Vision Group’s best farmers of 2018 and a renowned mushroom farmer at African Mushroom Growers, in Makindye, Kampala, says the focus will be on post-harvest handling and value addition at the Harvest Money Expo.
Kiddu will also be one of the facilitators during the training sessions organised at the expo. The expo will take place from February 10 to February 12 at the Kololo ceremonial grounds.
This year’s Vision Group’s annual Harvest Money Expo is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy, Champrisa International, Engineering Solutions Ltd (ENGSOL), Uganda warehouse receipting system, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Pepsi and UpFront-Riella.
Kiddu says one can choose to venture into any stage throughout the mushroom production value chain, including making gardens, processing spawn, growing mushrooms, making products like powder and wine, among others, and still will make money.
Capital Kiddu explains that he started with sh200,000 in 2010.
He used the money for buying cotton husks at sh25, 000 each, seeds at shs60,0000, firewood and jik. He made 120 gardens.
He went on increasing the stock capital that by 2018, he had 15,000 gardens harvesting over 100kg per day.
Currently, he has 30,000 gardens, harvesting over 200kg per day, in addition to 200 outgrowers that supply him with over 300kg per day.
“To start mushroom farming, one needs at least 100 gardens that will cost sh300,000, where each garden costs sh3,000.
“One can harvest 1.5kg from each garden in three months. Sold at an average of sh5,000 per a kilogramme while still fresh, you will earn sh750,000,” Kiddu explains.
Mushrooms have many nutritional values, making them a raw material for many products, such as sausages, wines and cosmetics. Dried: Drying mushrooms is one of the ways of value addition.
To get one kilogramme of dry mushrooms, you need to dry 10kg. A kilogramme of dry mushrooms is sold at sh70,000. If one was to sell the fresh ones, they would earn sh50,000.
Powder: After drying, you may make mushroom powder for beverages.
Kiddu sells 100gm at shs10,000. Wine: In 2019, Kiddu started making wine from mushrooms. To make 20ltrs of wine, one needs about 5kg of fresh mushrooms.