The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition is an activity within the framework of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Mushroom Farming in Arcturus

Published on July 4, 2014 um 13:46

Name of Enterprise

SJ Mushrooms

Location

George Milburn Road 39
N/A Arcturus
Zimbabwe

Your title/position

Founder

Type of Enterprise

informal program/project

Enterprise has a positive impact on

sustainable trade, empowerment of women

Year the enterprise was founded

2014

Summary of your enterprise

Mushroom farming is a relatively niche occupation in Zimbabwe in 2014. However there is a growing movement towards this occupation as mushrooms are a relatively cheap and affordable food source in a country where meat protein can often be unaffordable. Mushroom farming has a huge potential for growth as initially the input costs are low. Mushrooms can be grown in simple structures, as long as they are well insulated. This enterprise has taken advantage of already existing structures as mushroom growing houses. There is also a ready market for mushrooms as mushrooms are used in various cuisines locally. Arcturus is located in a farming community so the main inputs needed for the growing medium of mushrooms can be sourced locally. The business has the potential to be scaled up in accordance with the demands of the market and with the returns realised from sales, the business can grow. This enterprise aims to be commercial as well as empowering the local women of the Arcturus community through training on mushroom production. Arcturus is also located in close proximity to the capital city where there are many markets that can be supplied with mushrooms.

Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development

Mushroom farming is conducive to sustainable development. In general the substrate or the material used to grow the mushrooms is usually from so called agricultural waste products. In Zimbabwe, these include wheat straw, cotton hulls and maize stover. These are all by products of some of the main farming activities in Zimbabwe which are mainly wheat and cotton production as well as the commercial production of maize. Commercial mushroom farming utilises these waste products to provide the growing medium for mushrooms. Our enterprise currently uses wheat grass from a commercial wheat farm in the vicinity. In addition, the supplier of the enterprises mushroom spawn uses sawdust as the medium for growing the spawn. So this is again utilises another by product, this time the sawdust from the wood industry. The enterprise aims to at all stages of the development of the business consider any negative impacts on the environment and to minimise these impacts at all costs.

Sustainability and future plans

The current business model is to grow the business focusing on oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms have a lower input cost and are also easier to grow than other mushroom varieties. There is currently a growing demand for oyster mushrooms from vegetable wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets as well as individuals. In time (current projection is January 2015) we aim to produce over 500kg of oyster mushrooms per month. At this level of production, we believe that the profits from the business will enable us to build specialised structures for button mushroom farming as well as shiitake mushrooms. These varieties of mushrooms are more lucrative. This will also enable us to employ more people on a fulltime basis. This enterprise is committed to employing people from the local community. In addition from January 2015, we aim to mentor local women in the community to grow mushrooms. We hope to form a cooperative whereby the local community will become a local hub for mushroom production. Currently personal funds have been used in getting the project off the ground. But the owner is aware of the requirements for various external sources of funding such as commercial loans and is working on meeting these requirements in the coming months. In addition, from 2015, the owner is committed to training and assisting local people in the community, particularly women, on mushroom farming as part of a personal commitment to developing the local community.

Your profile as an entrepreneur

My name is Sarah Jaravaza. I am a 29 year old woman with qualifications in Education and in molecular biology. With a mushroom being a fungus, I aim to use my biology knowledge to help me create the ideal yet profitable growing conditions for mushrooms. My motivation to get into mushroom farming has been a desire to get a regular income from an endeavour that I could start off with low costs but build to be something professional and self-sustaining. In addition, in my community, there are a lot of unemployed people, but they need the education and support to develop different solutions for their own sustenance. My key qualities that will contribute to my success will be my passion, my planning and consulting with key individuals in the mushroom industry as well as my scientific knowledge. My professional experiences have also connected me to In addition my educational skills will enable me to find the best way to train more and more people in mushroom farming in the area.

Mushroom spawn is incubated in 1kg bags

Oyster mushrooms pre-harvest.

Oyster mushrooms sold commercially in 200g punnets

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Comments

July 9, 2014 00:02

You've covered every aspect of the business and it all looks very promising. I'm well impressed. Good luck!

July 9, 2014 00:02

You've covered every aspect of the business and it all looks very promising. I'm well impressed. Good luck!

July 7, 2014 15:44

Thank you John :)

July 5, 2014 23:17

This is Good