Locally known as Swahili: Uyoga; Luhya: Obwoba; Luo: Obwolo; Kikamba: Makunu; Kikuyu: Makunu; Kalenjin: Bobar. Cultivated mushrooms are edible fungi that grow on decaying organic matter, known as a substrate. They do not rely on sunlight to grow. Mushrooms start as very small spores then grow in the substrate to produce a network of fine white filaments called mycelium then the mushroom fruit is produced, which is then harvested. Mushrooms are a valuable source of food and their cultivation can be a viable small-scale business, but investing in a mushroom growing scheme can be risky so a looking for potential markets and supply chains is a priority.Before starting to grow mushrooms, farmers should consider the following (1) potential markets and supply chains (2) source(s) of high quality spawn (‘seeds’ of mushrooms) (3) availability of substrate (material on which mushrooms grow) (4) availability of supplements (additional nutrients to the substrate) and (5) production plan to ensure continuous production


Varieties Oyster, Button, Tropical (Agaricus bisporus), White (champignon)
Seed Rate 2-3 kg of spawn for 50 kg of substrate
Fertilizer Rate No need of fertilizers.
Planting Spacing Spawn 4-6% of the wet weight of the substrate.
Husbandry Get Spawn (seeds), a planting material equivalent of farmers’ seed for starting mushroom cultures. It is made from mycelia (plural of mycelium) of mushroom grown on a carrier such as grains and is produced in specialized laboratories under sterile conditions. The amount of spawn needed is equal to 4-6% of the wet weight of the substrate. For example if the wet weight of the substrate is 50 kg, 2-3 kg of spawn is required.Substrate is an organic-based material on which mushrooms grow. And a good substrate should be rich in nutrients, have good aeration and water holding capacity. Substrates commonly used in mushroom production include agricultural by-products such as cereal straws (wheat, barley, rice, maize), cotton waste, maize cobs, coffee husks and pulp, sawdust, sugar bagasse, water hyacinth among others. Lime may also be added to the substrate to adjust its pH. Gypsum is a useful to provide calcium. Supplements increase nitrogen content.

The house should have air vents or small windows on the upper walls for ventilation and required light during fruiting.

Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Bacterial blotch Spots that darken becoming chocolate-brown in colour and slimy. Maintain strict hygiene and sanitation. Water mushrooms with chlorinated water
Maturity Duration Oyster about 30 days, button 30-40 days from spawning to harvesting
Climatic Conditions Good compost is dark brown, 70% moisture content and pH 8.0 – 8.5. The growing room should be kept humid (RH 65-95%) with dim lighting.
Harvesting Oyster harvesting is done when the mushroom ear is 7.5-10 cm in diameter, turgid and bright in colour. Button is picked at the young stage before opening. Repeated over 7-10 day cycles.
Post Harvest and Storage Mushrooms are highly perishable and if possible should be sold the same day of harvest. Under cool conditions their shelf-life is 1-3 days. The shelf-life can be extended to up to 7 days under refrigeration at 10°C. Surplus can be preserved by drying, canning, pickling and grinding dry mushroom into powder for soups.
Growing Regions Anywhere as long as its indoors in dim light.
Expected yields 30 kg of fresh button mushrooms per 1m square of substrate3000 kgs for 100m (10m x 10m) square of substrate


Processing Processed and preserved by drying, canning, pickling and grinding dry mushroom into powder for soups.


Place Mostly marketed locally in hotels, grocery and supermarket.
Price Kshs 200 – 300 per kg


Products and uses Mushrooms to prepare Mushroom soup
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Mushrooms have a high nutritional value and are high in protein. They are also a good source of vitamins (B-complex and C), essential amino acids, and carbohydrates but are low in fat and fibre and contain no starch. When fresh they have a very high water content of around 90%. Minerals present include phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and copper. They are an ideal diet for diabetics and weight-watchers. Some species are also grown for their medicinal value.


Some mushroom species are grown for their medicinal value.


Income Per Hectare: Kshs 600,000 (3,000kgs * 200/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 240,000 (40% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 360,000 (60% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 1200 kgs per 100m square.

Income Frequency: 5-10 seasons per year.

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