Mushroom farming is not really a popular business in Ghana yet but it can be very profitable if it is done the right way.
Mushrooms are fungi which live and grow in organic materials. When growing mushrooms it is called fungi culture. There are a lot of good reasons to start a mushroom business like:
- Mushrooms are normally grown indoors so they are not affected by weather.
- The waste from mushroom farming can be recycled.
- There is a high demand for high protein foods and mushrooms have a high amount of protein.
Mushroom farming is one of the most profitable agri-business in Ghana. You can start mushroom farming with low capital and you can start small and expand your business. Mushroom farming is gradually becoming a popular way to generate more income for people in Ghana.
Many farmers in Ghana are going into mushroom farming today because it is a very profitable business and it also requires a small capital and it is done indoors.
Mushrooms are packed with a lot of minerals and vitamins. They can be added in your diets and they have great flavors. Mushrooms help to lower blood pressure, they can boost your immune system and help with weight loss.
Mushroom production in Ghana
Mushroom production is not an easy task but it’s worth it because of the high profits. Mushroom production in Ghana has recently been revived because more people are aware of the benefits of mushroom consumption.
The cost of starting a mushroom business can vary depending on how big or small you want to start.
Unemployed youths and a few adults are starting a mushroom business as a source of income. Mushrooms have now become a good protein substitute for Ghanaians that are not able to afford other sources of protein like meat, fish and so on, mushrooms are an affordable option for most people in Ghana.
Price of mushroom in Ghana
The price of mushrooms in Ghana ranges from GHC5 to GHC30. The price of mushrooms depends on the mushroom species. Shiitake mushrooms are normally more expensive than other mushrooms.
Mushroom bags for sale in Ghana
You can get ready-made mushroom compost bags that are for sale. The price of the ready-made mushroom bags depends on the mushroom species. The price of mushroom bags ranges from GHC2 to GHC20 depending on how many bags you are buying and the mushroom species.
Where to buy mushroom spawn in Ghana
You can buy mushroom spawn from other mushroom farming businesses. You can always get your spawn from the mushrooms that you have grown. The price of spawn can be high, it is cheaper to collect your own spawn.
Making mushroom spawn can be difficult. If you have a good source of spores and a sterile environment you can make your mushroom spawn in large quantities and have good results. To make your mushroom spawn, all you will need is a mushroom, paper and glass. You can also use the stem method to get mushroom spawn.
How to start a mushroom business in Ghana
In order to be successful in any farming business you need to know and understand the basics. When it comes to mushroom farming you need to know all the procedures involved. The procedures involved in mushroom farming are:
- Prepare the substrate for your mushrooms. Mushrooms grow from a mixture of organic materials called substrate. To make substrate, yam or cassava peels are dried and then they are grounded. Lime, water and rice bran are then added to the grounded yam or cassava peels then it is mixed and piled up on the ground and the mixture is left to ferment for 28 days.
- Bag the prepared substrate. Water is added and evenly distributed to the rich substrate. After this, the substrate is placed into a large polypropylene bag, compressed and tied using a rubber band. Cotton is then placed over the cavity to retain the moisture in the substrate.
- Sterilization of the bagged substrate. The baggage substrate is placed in an oil drum with water at the bottom of the rack. The drum is then placed over fire. As soon as steam is coming out of the tank, a timer is then set for 2 to 3 hours. After the bags are brought out, they are left to cool, then they are taken to the inoculation room.
- Inoculation of the bagged substrate. The mushroom spawn is poured into the neck of the substrate bag and the cotton is changed. The substrate bags are sent to an incubation room.
- Leave the spawn in the incubation room for 4 to 6 weeks to grow.
- Transfer the grown spawn to a room where they are going to get some light which will stimulate the growth. After 4 to 6 weeks in the incubation room, the substrate bag turns whitish and is ready to open. Contact with air allows the mushroom spawn to grow into fungi.
- After 3 months, harvest your mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have ripened they are removed from the substrate and they are now ready for drying, sale or consumption.
The profits you would get from mushroom farming is guaranteed because the sale of mushrooms is consistent as the demand for mushrooms increases daily. There is a higher chance of mushroom farmers earning more income and profits if they go into large scale production of mushrooms.
Some mushroom farmers in Ghana do the mushroom business on a small scale because of the challenges that they face. Most of the mushroom farmers in Ghana are uninformed of where to buy live spawn and because of this they usually experience production failure which discourages them from expanding.
Starting a mushroom business in Ghana is not expensive, all you really need is capital to buy spawn. Most of the other required substances like the substrate are mostly recycled byproducts that you can find around your house, you can use your home waste to generate income. Some things that you should know about mushroom farming are:
- It requires little capital to start.
- The price of mushrooms are always high because of the high demand for mushrooms in Ghana.
- Mushrooms can grow on different surfaces like decaying tree trunks and soil.
Steps to Start a Mushroom Business in Ghana
Writing a Business Plan
You will always need a business plan before starting any business. Your mushroom farm business plan should articulate the vision of your mushroom business and it should act as directions to the success of your mushroom farm. In your mushroom business plan, you should have:
- Executive summary
- Your products and services
- The vision statement
- The mission statement
- Your target market
- You source of revenue
- Competitive advantage
- Sales projection
- Payment Channels
- Publicity and advertising strategy
Choosing a Location for Your Mushroom Business
Mushrooms grow in damp and moist areas, so they need a lot of moisture to grow. Mushrooms do not require sunlight and wind, they need adequate shade to grow. You do not require a large structure to start your mushroom business, all you need is a small room. You can start your mushroom business using a small room in your house.
When choosing a location, you should be able to control humidity, temperature and the amount of light that enters the room.
Choose a Mushroom Specie
There are a lot of mushroom species but not all of them are edible. Some mushroom species are poisonous to the human body.
Mushrooms can be divided into 3 categories which are:
- Saprotrophic mushrooms are mushrooms that grow on decaying animals, plants and wood. They contain enzymes and acids that can decompose decaying tissues for their absorption. Examples of saprotrophs are shiitake, oyster mushrooms, etc.
- Endophytic mushrooms are easy to cultivate because they can grow without a host, but they partner with a host so that they can get nutrients.
- Parasitic mushrooms receive nutrients from a host but the host does not benefit from them. The host will eventually die because of the infections from the parasitic mushrooms.
- Mycorrhizal mushrooms are hard to cultivate because of their nature. These mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with its host where the mushroom and the goat benefit from each other. Examples are porcini and chanterelles.
Some mushrooms that can be cultivated in Ghana are:
- Shiitake mushrooms (lentinula edodes)
- Oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus)
- Morels mushroom (morchella esculenta)
- Chanterelles (cantharellus cibarius)
Start Growing Your Mushrooms
Let the spawn grow in a dark incubation room for 4 to 6 weeks. After growing your mushrooms in an incubation room, crop them by transferring them to a room where they can receive some light, this will help stimulate their growth.
Harvest your mushrooms
After three months your mushrooms are ready to be harvested. You can sell your harvested mushrooms by the quart, pint or pound.
Register your mushroom business
Before registering your mushroom business, you have to decide on a name for your business. This part can be quite challenging sometimes. You can do some research to make sure that the name that you have decided on for your business has not been taken. Register your business name to secure the name before someone else takes it. You should make your mushroom business a legal entity and register your mushroom business for taxes.
Have a Business Bank Account and Credit card
This is a very important step. You need to have different bank accounts for your business and your personal needs. When you mix your personal and business accounts, your personal assets can be at risk if your mushroom business is used.
Record keeping of expenses
Having records of your expenses and your sources of income is important. You need to have detailed records so that it can help you simplify your annual tax filing.
Getting all the necessary permits and licenses
Failing to get the necessary permits and licenses can result in your mushroom business shutting down.
You can now start advertising your mushroom business. You can use any traditional or modern method of advertising.
You can start a mushroom farm as a part time business while working somewhere else.
The mushroom business is a very hands on task. This is a good business for anyone that likes working with their hands. You also have to like interacting with people.