In recent years, there have been a significant growth in the demand for mushrooms across the globe. This growth was driven by a rising vegan population requesting a diet rich in protein and the recognition of mushrooms as a food filled with nutritional properties. A recent report by Grand View Research, Inc. revealed that the global mushroom market size in 2021 was estimated at $50.3 million with a predicted expansion of 9.7 percent at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2030.
Currently, China holds the position of the world largest producer of mushrooms with an annual production of 5.1 million metric tonnes which accounts for 75 percent of global production. Cultivation of mushrooms has succeeded in many parts of the world and is strengthened by prevailing external climatic conditions, very low input requirements for production, short growing times, and easy production technologies. Regardless of how many countries are embracing opportunities that come from mushroom production, it is relatively new in Nigeria.
It is not capital intensive and can be done on a small piece of land.
Within Nigeria, very few farmers cultivate and harvest mushroom for food and commercial purposes. Reports have shown that the produce is mostly considered as weed as very few of the population are aware of its food and commercial purposes. This ignorance is said to be as a result of insufficient awareness about the opportunities embedded in mushroom farming, shortage of post-harvest processing options, poor market organization and market linkages, inadequate technical guidance, lack of trained research and extension personnel, and many more.
According to a report by the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), Nigeria 300 tonnes of mushrooms annually out of a demand of 1,200 tonnes, leaving behind a deficit of 900 tonnes. Adenike Wahab, founder of Mushroom Planet Nigeria, said this farming was a waste of wealth farming practice as it can be practiced both indoor and outdoor. This process of farming is not capital intensive, does not need large areas of land and also requires an average of six weeks to begin to produce.
They can be processed into powder for babies to consume.
Managing director of Agro Heights Farms Nigeria Limited, Seyi Ogunneye, said the mushroom agribusiness has positive potentials and has a bright future in Nigeria with the current value addition realized from the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). He further cited some challenges facing the sub-sector of the agricultural industry. They include lack of skilled labour, inadequate funding, and insufficient clear cut requirements for growers for certifications by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Co-founder of Etifarms Global Ltd, an organization which is involved in cultivating, processing and distributing edible mushrooms, Brownson Etimbuk, asserted that this edible produce can be grown, packaged and distributed to consumers like restaurants and supermarkets nationwide. They can also be processed into powder to be consumed by babies, be added to tea and used as fortification for flours for baking due to its nutritious values. It can be grilled, fried, or cooked and is without cholesterol.
This produce is medicinal and nutritional for human consumption.
A professor of Botany, Sami Ayodele, during a presentation of the National Open University of Nigeria’s 22nd Inaugural Lecture on the theme “Mushrooms: Friends or Foes”, stated that mushroom is one of the most valued vegetables as it contains high medicinal and nutritional contents which is capable of combating micronutrient malnutrition. They are rich sources of protein, vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates, which are healthy for patients with heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension. They are also capable of treating minor and life-threatening medical conditions.