Mushroom Growing Resources in Kenya

This is a highly disorganised collection of resources relating to mushroom growing and training in Kenya. If some of the information is out of date, it would help everybody if you leave a comment at the bottom. Also, if you know of a training course, perhaps you would also leave a comment.

The Agricultural Information Resource Centre (AIRC), Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya (email: published in 2009 a colour  booklet entitled ‘Guide to Growing Mushroom’. COSDEP grows oyster mushroom for sale and training purposes. They also sell mushroom substrate  to farmers. Being near to Nairobi which is the main market of this useful product is an added advantage. They also give mushroom production as a course to farmers upon arrangements. Tel No: +254722460769 or +254708183547. Email: or

Benflex were providing materials. Call for booking & more information: BENFLEX INDUSTRIES LTD, Tel: 821178/9, 0714 276626, Email:

Fully Certified Mushroom Growing Course

Due to public demand, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has developed a comprehensive training programme at the University Campus for training in growing of the most popular mushrooms.

Course Dates for 2012:

  • OCT 24-26, NOV 21-23, DEC 05-07

Course Charges
KShs. 10,000/= per a participant Accommodation and meals – each participant to make own arrangement. CALL FOR MORE DETAILS: 0724256696 / 0736524200

According to Grace Wanene, you can purchase ready made sterilized substrate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology at Juja, 36 km northeast of Nairobi, along Thika-Nairobi Superhighway. Moi University at Chepkoilel sells hybrid mushroom spawns.

Alex Njenga is on Radio Inooro, Coro, Kameme and KBC (Mali Shambani and Sikio ya Mkulima) and is a keen promoter of mushroom farming.

In 2008, I bought the excellent “The Mushroom Manifesto” as a .pdf from, but regrettably their website has closed. If anybody knows where the copyright holder is, I would be interested in republishing it. While on the subject of books, I cannot recommend those by Paul Stamets highly enough. “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” is not cheap, (around 2000/- if you can find a copy) but it’s an enormous resource to have.

Lastly, try ringing nearby universities. I’m sure I have seen extension programmes in the past – and if you find something do share it with everybody with a comment below 🙂


54 Responses

  1. from Ethiopia,i would like to thank this institution for getting these opportunity and what i would like to say is i study plant science and am doing now on oyster mushroom for for 3years. i found a problem on decreasing in production because of spawn and now i need a spawn of highly productive oyster mushroom i hope u will help me.

  2. i am at eldoret and i want to start mushroom farming where shall i get the market

    • If your question is where to sell mushrooms grown in Eldy, we don’t have experience of this, since we ourselves don’t grow mushrooms. But back in 2011, Business daily reported that:

      Hotels in Eldoret, Kenya’s fourth largest town, are grappling with an acute shortage of mushrooms that has seen prices of the vegetable surge by nearly 70 per cent.
      The hotels blame the shortage on farmers move to abandon the crop because of various challenges. “We are forced to move from one supermarket to the other to look for mushrooms, and the price has almost doubled,” said Mr Zahir Khan, the manager at Mamamias Hotel which is famous for the delicacy.
      He said a kilogramme of mushroom is now selling at Sh760 up from Sh450.”

      You could try asking OneAcreFund, who work in Western and the university (Chepkoilel). I don’t know if these are up-to-date:, NAFIS.
      My own instinct is this:
      I would grow both button mushrooms (Agaricus) and more expensive mushrooms like Shiitake (Lentinula) and Oyster (Pleurotus).
      I would try to sell fresh to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.
      I would dry perhaps half my output (a design for a solar food dryer may be coming on the site later).
      Why dried?
      Dried mushrooms keep for many months, taste delicious and weigh much less.
      Since they weigh so little, it’s easy to carry a lot of them, or even post them.
      Post? Dried shiitake sell for about Sh6,000 per kg. in Europe. Tempting if Posta works 🙂
      Tell us how you get on.

      • I think that this venture of mushrooms is a very good one. I am in nairobi and shall inquire whether they are training people this year at JKUAT. I am very interested in the shiitake production also as i hear the kenyan market has begun to appreciate it. you can contact me on

  3. We source high qualty button mushrooms from riftvalley and central Kenya. If you believe your button mushrooms meet the expected standards, kindly visit our website and contact us.
    Mushrooms are a superb source of proteins as they are packed with high levels of Amino acids.

    • Do you buy oyster type. Have some I would like to sell to you. How much do you buy for a 250 mg pack? .Am located in Kiambu.

  4. I am based in Nandi County (Kapsabet) & have some frée time, i would like to engage in mushroom production – where is the nearest place/contact from here that i can get training? thank you.

    • Try asking NAFIS (the information Service developed by the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP)). Your nearest contact is:
      Mr. Bett Thomas K, District Agricultural Officer,
      P.O Box 60 30300 Kapsabet
      Tel: 05352349, Cell: 0723554556

      And tell us about your progress:-)

  5. I am Peter Kanyoro from Nakuru Town and having visited this web site have developed great interest in mushroom growing especially the Shitake and Oyster types.
    Is there a training institution in Nakuru?.
    Please advise.

  6. I am samuel munai from embakasi and am interested growing mushrooms.Am kindly requesting if you can direct me where to buy seeds.

  7. I have interest in mushroom farming in kericho,where can i get training in kericho on how to plant mushroom.

  8. Hi, I am in Nairobi and would like to get training to start a mushroom farm and also know where to buy spawn and other materials.

    what would be the cheapest house to build to keep them in?

    • Contact:
      JKUAT Enterprises Ltd (part of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology)
      P.O. Box 62000 Nairobi 00200 Tel: 067 52420 0736 524200 0724 256696
      email: or
      Coming course dates in 2014 are SEPT 24-26, OCT 22-24, NOV 19-21, DEC 03-05-2014. From 9am to 5pm. The whole course costs 10,000/- per person.
      Currently they sell
      Oyster – @ 600/= Per Litre.
      Agaricus or Button Mushroom – @ 600/= Per Litre
      Shiitake – @ 1000/= per Litre
      Ganoderma – @ 1000/= Per Litre
      And they sell substrate:
      Button Substrate @ 55/= per kg for 10kg bag = 550/=
      Oyster substrate @ 40/= per kg for 2kg bag = 80/=
      Shiitake and Ganoderma substrates @ 100/= per kg for 2kg bag= 200/=

  9. Hi, Iam Lydia in Embakasi and wish to start mushroom growing. how much space does a 10kg bag cover and how many kgs of mushroom are expected from it in its life time.

  10. This is a very interesting site. Very informative indeed. I ahve lately developed a great interest in the mushroom farming but there seems to be nobody venturing into it here in Mombasa. Do you know of a person i can contact on the same for more info?
    WHere to get spawns and so on?

  11. Hi team, Iam glad for the vital information shared and guidance. I too would like to start a small trial mushroom project which would not cost more than Kshs 4000.00 and gradually improve from there. Where can I get seeds from around kericho and whom can i contact.

    • One suggestion is to contact your DAO:
      District Agricultural Officer for Kericho District
      Ms. Opunga Jenipher, P.O.Box 50 20200 Kericho
      Tel: 052-30100 Cell: 0722442323 Email:

      Firstly button mushrooms (Agaricus spp.) and oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) are very different and are grown in very different ways. So deciding which to try is a good start.
      Secondly, perhaps we should all remember that mushrooms are not plants and do not have “seeds”. The equivalent is “spore”.

      Having got that out of the way 🙂 the good news is that the simplest starting method is to grow oyster mushrooms on a new toilet roll, or even an old paperback book.
      However you probably want to do something a little more serious. I can’t describe all the steps here, but you will need a substrate (the food it grows on). I have used sawdust, woodchips, wood logs, straw and even used coffee grounds. Then you need a method of sterilizing the substrate. This is the most difficult step to organise. Some people boil their wood or straw in an old oil drum. For smaller quantities a pressure cooker is ideal, but not many of us have one. Next the spawn is mixed with the substrate and often packed into polythene bags. I just stab the bags all round for ventilation. Soon white threads (mycelia) can be seen running through the substrate. Finally mushrooms (fruiting bodies) will appear growing from the holes. We can’t give full instructions in this space, that is just an idea of what is involved. To start, you do not need any special buildings or anything complicated other than keeping everything clean, after all oyster mushrooms grow happily in the wild without our help.

      I’m wondering whether the university would consider running an extension/extramural course (School of Agriculture & Biotechnology P.O.Box 2030-20200 Tel:0202588148)

      Not for beginners, but relevant to Kericho are: is about mixing tea waste with straw to make a substrate on which to grow oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus sp.)
      Water hyacinth (not too far to collect a load) can be used as a substrate for oyster mushrooms. is about using tea waste as a casing material for button mushrooms (Agaricus sp.)

  12. Hi,
    I am interested in growing mushrooms. I live in Webuye and would like to know where to get substrate, spawn of the new improved jkuat variety and training.

  13. can you give us the ratio of mixing the substrates considering that you are using (a)wheat straw (b)gypsum (c)molasses and other ingredient’s,for a 1lt spawn of oyster mushroom

  14. Hi, i am Teresa i visited your website, i am in Nairobi very interested in Mushroom growing especially button mushrooms, please guide me on how to start.

    • Teresa, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has a Mushroom Growing resources centre:
      JKUAT Enterprises Ltd
      P.O. Box 62000 Nairobi.
      Next courses are MAY 20-22, JUN 24-26, JULY 22-24
      Contact person, Patrick Kanyi Muchiri: 0721167244

  15. hi am julius a resident of Thika town,i ventured into button mushroom farming in 2013 but i was frustrated twice after loosing almost 100k.i bought the imported spawn from south africa but i never made any that jkuat has spawn of their own,i want to give it a try.

  16. This is a very resourceful site and informative, i am glad people who have the information are ready to share,it will help and promote other peoples living.


  18. Hey, what mushroom house is more conducive for growth, outdoor house made of mud or indoor space insulated with blankets and a heater?

    • It all depends on the temperature you can maintain. For the mycelia to grow, the best temperature is 21-25°C in the compost (rather than the air temperature). About 2 weeks after spawning, the white mycelia should have spread throughout the compost. At this stage it is important to keep the temperature down to about 14-18°C.
      How damp the air is, is also important.

      • Such a good & actually helpful blog without the usual poorly researched wild figures. Keep it going.

      • Thank you for your kind comment. Would you like to help us by answering some people’s queries? Or writing for us?

  19. That would be really nice. But unfortunately I am unable to do so. Thank you for the kind consideration.

  20. Thanx alot for the good advice. Can you please tell me how much it can cost to establish shiitake murshroom 2 litres from initial cost uptown harvesting. Considering I would prefer to buy spwan and substrate from jkuat.

  21. From Nairobi I would. Like to ask if there is ready market for the. shiitake murshroom I have not yet done the production since I would like to look for market first

    • A very good approach! Don’t forget dried mushrooms, which can be sold at any time. Has anybody noticed dried mushroom powder on the shelves in a shop? To make powder, just grind up dried mushrooms. Add a couple of teaspoons to a stew for delicious flavour 🙂

  22. Hi I would like to start growing shiitake and button mushrooms for my own consumption.any advise would be appreaciated

    • These are very diffent mushrooms and grown in very different ways. It depends where you are in the country, but try the mushroom growing courses from JKUAT (see below) for a good start. For shiitake the biggest hurdle is how to sterilise the substrate. For a substrate, if you can get a lot of water hyacinth from Lake Victoria, you might use that as a basis for your substrate. If in Nairobi, you might be able to beg plenty of used coffee grounds. A mushroom growing kit is a great way to get an idea of what to do, but I haven’t seen any for sale here. Tell us how you do.

    • You will also find excellent free guides at

  23. Update mushroom training schedule for 2017. at jkuate nterprise Ltd. May 24th to26th.
    Contact person Patrick- 0721167244 or

  24. good one!
    am in Mombasa and I would like to try this great farming……. how and where can I easily get spawn?

  25. I missed the May 2017 course. when is the next one?

  26. Kindly give me the contacts of district agricultural Officer makandara Nairobi.Eunice. I am a small mushroom farmer in east lands

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