The Managing Director, of Jovana Farms, and animal farm consultant, Prince Arinze Onebunne has expressed his passion for mushroom farming traceable to his childhood, when as a young boy hunted mushrooms as a source of protein for his family.
And now according to him has turned his passion into a commercial enterprise where he now cultivates mushrooms in his backyard for profit making. Beginning with a few oyster mushroom seeds, he said, our mushroom farm is using modern methods to produce edible mushrooms for individuals and hotels. “A few years later our farm began to produce large quantities of fresh/dried mushrooms for sale ready for consumption, spraying equipment for mushroom farming, mushroom bags, and seeds for farmers.
Today, Onebunne said, “we now supply fresh and dried mushrooms to restaurants, top-class hotels, and eateries; the manure for fertilizer to horticulturists and the bags and seeds to intending farmers. We hope eventually to connect with local healthy food market”.
“This is a huge improvement over traditional small-scale vegetable farming, which is inefficient and unsustainable in the long run. Besides growing mushrooms, we have embarked on nationwide seminars on profitable oyster mushroom farming to get more Nigerians involved in this new lucrative business. The seminar is a platform for sharing knowledge with intending and old farmers to help them upgrade farming methods and grow.
However, the primary objective is to bring this golden opportunity to the doorstep of every Nigerian as a very sure and potent means of conquering poverty, he said. “Despite its great potential to generate income and improve nutrition for 180 million Nigerians, the mushroom industry in Nigeria is characterized by insufficient farmers, modern laboratory, drying equipment, and, above all, difficult access to finance, and this is one of the reasons why banks should be with mushroom producers. Moreso, demand for mushrooms is hugely increasing rapidly and appears to be one of the markets worth investing in.
Nowadays, health-conscious people are avoiding red meat like plague and this has boosted the mushroom market. Hotels, supermarkets, and a growing number of individuals are buying. So, the mushroom market continues to expand. Mushroom is known to contain low cholesterol and fats, and it contains multiple vitamins that nourish the human body and help us live longer. The great thing about mushrooms is that you can grow them everywhere! In your backyard, kitchen, and even in the parking store, even if you are a tenant.
Moreover, a bank will not have to wait too long to recover its money. Any investment can be recouped within 3 months. As a mushroom farmer, I will not come and tell the bank, ‘I don’t have money to buy food for my mushrooms’ and you don’t need rain to grow mushrooms and it doesn’t even need chlorophyll! So the risk is very minimal. For all these reasons, Banks should be with us.” However, my hope is that this project becomes the nucleus of an emerging industry. I plan to entice others to form a commercial mushroom growers association to lay the industry’s foundation.