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Mushrooms Lure Young Man away from the City

Bernardine Mutanu reports an interesting story in Business Daily.

Mr Muchiri inside a mushroom room at his Riamukurwe Village farm in Nyeri County.  One kilogramme of button mushroom is sold at between Sh500 and Sh900 , while the oyster  variety  costs between Sh300 and Sh500 per kilogramme. JOSEPH KANYI

It tells how John Collins Muchiri, 28, left Nairobi to pursue farming at his rural Riamukurwe Wambugu farm in Nyeri, rather than stay in the city. John Muchiri left to grow mushrooms and has never looked back since.

“I have a passion for farming. I left my job as a sales person to do full time farming,” he said during an interview at his home. He received Sh25,000 from his brother and used Sh15,000 of it to pay for a mushroom growing course and Sh10,000 to buy substrate, on which to grow the mushrooms.

He raised more money to study how to make substrate. “I raised Sh75,000 from selling goats and went for another training. It was hard at first because there was no one to guide me on getting raw materials, equipment, and market,” he said.

After acquiring the necessary materials, John Muchiri built a darkroom for growing mushrooms. John Muchiri has since increased the number of darkrooms to five, following a rise in demand for his mushrooms. One darkroom costs between Sh20,000 and Sh30,000 to build, depending on the construction materials used and the size of the structure. A darkroom consists of wooden sections, on which the substrate is placed to allow the mushrooms to grow, walls are covered with polythene papers. A thermometer is placed in each room to monitor the temperature closely.

Medicinal value

With 30 regular clients, he makes at least Sh3.6 million per year through selling the substrate alone. “I get contracts from farmers to make substrate. Making one tonne of the substance costs Sh55,000 and I can make as much as five tonnes for one farmer,” he said. He grows three types of mushrooms: button (Agaricus), oyster (Pleurotus), and shiitake . One kilogramme of button is sold at between Sh500 and Sh900, while oyster costs between Sh300 and Sh500 per kilogramme. He incubates shiitake only on order as it is prized for its medicinal value. Mr Muchiri said he makes between Sh15,000 and Sh20, 000 per day during harvest time. “I want to increase the volume of substrate so that I can supply at least 200 kg of mushrooms per day,” he said. He supplies mushrooms to hotels in Nyeri, Nanyuki, Nairobi, and Mombasa as he looks forward to exporting the produce.
John Muchiri also teaches farmers how to grow mushrooms.
John Muchiri said that patience is the key to the success of any business. He attributed his success to support from his pastor and hotels.

Bernardine Mutanu  can be found writing on many topics at Nation Media.

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20 Responses

  1. I am much interested in mushroom farming.I would like to get in touch with Mr.John Muchiri.I look forward for as much information as possible.

  2. Can you pls connect me with mr Muchiri.
    Thnx

  3. i would like to be conected to mr.muchiri. thank you

  4. Please connect me with muchiri.

  5. hi would want to do mushroom farming.please how can connect with john muchiri.

  6. For all the people wanting to contact John Collins Muchiri,:
    try the excellent author of this article, Bernardine Mutanu –
    mutanu06 AT yahoo.com (change the At to @)
    I have inboxed the likely person on FaceBook and emailed
    Wambugu Training Centre, Wambugu Farm, Mesha, Nyeri.
    However, he is not he only person in the country.
    Have you read:
    https://agrikenya.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/mushroom-growing-resources-in-kenya/
    If you can’t use any of the resources in that post, there is also:
    http://healthymushrooms.info/Kenya/ but I have not yet checked how good the course is – although you can get a refund.

  7. i would like to get trained by john muchiri how to grow mushrooms.wha ts his no or email add.thnx

  8. Please give me muchiri’s phone number. I would wish to learn more about mashroom furming.

  9. @simon maina – try reading the reply above 🙂

  10. Am interested in mushroom farming and am in Eldoret how can i get connected with you people?

  11. Could you pls give me mr muchiris contact?

  12. Agrikenya u da man! Good follow-up with the nationwide resources. Am interested in mushrooms as a healthy, easy protein source, and it makes a good complement to a compost heap! I will see what supplies I can get for home growing-been reading Paul Stamets 🙂

  13. How do i contact you, am intrested in learning about mushroom farming. Thank you

    • There is a contact section – try that to contact people, but we don’t ourselves offer any training yet. Look for ‘search’ at the top right of any page and type ‘mushroom’. You should have all the
      information we have currently – look through the comments.

  14. Good work ,creativity is the way

  15. I am a mushroom farmer and i would really want to export ma mushroom, could advice me pleas.

    • Although this is not an advice forum 😦 I suggest looking at dried fungi, particularly oyster and shiitake. Common or button mushrooms, ie Agaricus, are worth a lot less for export usually, although may be worth more sold fresh locally as button mushrooms. You need to do some research. Dried fungi weigh less to post and they have a long shelf life. Do some market research round the world. I know over in the UK these sell for about 6,000 KSh per kg to retail buyers once packed in small (eg 30g) bags, and often for a lot more. Solar dryers are easy to make, cost little to build and nothing to run. Now go to the Posta and get the postage rates for overseas. Always include insurance in your calculations and work out the most economic size to post. Don’t forget an envelope’s weight.
      Next go to eBay.co.uk, eBay.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.com and do some patient research for dried shiitake, dried oyster and dried mushrooms. Decide which are the likely weights to supply and prices to ask for. Try some tests by selling a few bags of mushrooms. You do not need to be the cheapest, Kenyan products will likely be less contaminated than from some other countries.
      There are still a lot of issues to resolve, eg moving your pesa from a PayPal account into a form you can spend it, and import controls on foodstuffs in different countries.
      I have been hoping to try this strategy for a long time, and have found out a lot more than I have space to write here. If I get some time spare, I will write a booklet or post some more here.

  16. Kindly provide a valid email address for the writer so that I can contact him.mutanu06@yahoo.com doesnt work

    • Bernardine Mutanu wrote that piece for the Nation over 3 years ago. Bernadine writes some great stuff for the Nation all the time, and is not associated with us – other than we are keen readers. If you want to follow Bernardine Mutanu, try Twitter: @mutanuberna. If instead, you want to know about mushrooms, not about Bernadine, tell us where you are, and try contacting your DAO. If that doesn’t work, come back to us. We are not mushroom farmers, but we will try to track down information for you.

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