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Mushroom firm looking for outgrowers

Mushroom Blue, a Kenyan startup branding and supplying mushroom products, including pizza, is buying and organizing training free workshops for local small-scale mushroom farmers in the country, insulating them from market bullies who can supply the rich high-end market.

Large-scale producers account for 95 per cent of the country’s total mushroom.

Apart from offering a readily accessible market for smallholder farmers, the company is offering them the elusive production knowledge, enabling them to increase their yields and hygienically handle mushrooms, hence earning more from the venture, socially and economically transforming the lives of those farmers.

Founded in 2012 by three University of Nairobi graduates Ngethe Mbachia, Nyawira Gitaka, and Gregory Limbe, the company started its operations by buying mushrooms from farmers around Nairobi and Kiambu before they also started producing their mushrooms by using coffee husks as substrates.

Offering market and training for smallholder farmers

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Ngethe Mbachia, they noticed that most large-scale mushroom producers do value addition to their yields, package them, and have means to hygienically store mushroom products, hence appealing to high-end consumers. This, according to Mbachia locks out many smallholder farmers who are forced to sell their produce at a throwaway price to middlemen, incurring huge losses. He added that mushrooms require a high maintenance level during production an aspect that overwhelms smallholder farmers resulting in huge post-harvest losses.

Procedure for registering with Mushroom Blue

‘’We brand the produce and redistribute it to the market we have. The farmers’ network guarantees us mushrooms throughout the year as we have various farmers and even referrals from existing farmers and institutions’’, said Ngethe Mbachia, the Chief Executive Officer.

Mushroom Blue visits a farmer a few weeks before harvesting to verify the quality and quantity. The farmer then fill out a contractual form that details the type of mushroom he grows, quantity, name, and banking details as all payments are done through banks. After the first delivery, the farmer is incorporated into the company’s network which guarantees him free training and future delivery. Distance farmers are allowed to send samples of their mushrooms or high-resolution photos of their yields.

Increased operations to the Coast region

The company recently expanded its services to the Coast region where it is also buying mushrooms from farmers, and brands, then distributes them to local supermarkets, groceries, and restaurants. The company holds prospects of covering the whole country by the end of this year before expanding to cover other parts of East Africa.
Although there is a huge market demand for mushrooms in Kenya, most smallholder farmers lack the means to penetrate due to the perishability nature of the fungi.

According to the National Farmers Information System (NAFIS), Kenya produces only 500 tonnes of mushrooms per year against a consumption of 1200 tonnes hence a deficit of 700 tonnes annually.

Read More:

Huge global demand for mushroom

Nutritional & medicinal value of various mushrooms varieties

Accountant’s job or mushroom farming; mushrooms earn more

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2 thoughts on “Mushroom firm looking for outgrowers”

  1. Hi, requesting to be advised on the best mashroom species to grow and where I can get seeds on the same. Also need training on the same prior to starting farming. I will appreciate. Kindly get back.

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