Factors affecting small scale mushroom farming in Western Kenya : a case study of Mumias division in Butere-Mumias district, Kenya
Nyakundi, Andrew O.
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The purpose of the research was to investigate on the various factors affecting small-scale mushroom farming in Kenya focusing in Mumias Division with a view of establishing mushroom industry. The government is committed to alleviate poverty and create more jobs but the economic growth has been slow especially the contribution from conventional agriculture. Other countries that have taken mushroom farming seriously like China, the enterprise has created a lot of wealth to the people and it's now a formal business. Globally there are about 1.5 million species with only 30 species domesticated as edible and medicinal mushrooms. In Kenya, only oyster type is being grown whose production and spreading has been stagnating. It's against this background the study looked at such factors as characteristics, prevailing marketing strategies, management of the growing conditions, cost-benefit analysis of mushroom and sugarcane and other challenges affecting growers. The descriptive research design was used, 30 samples were selected using cluster/area sampling design. Data was collected through a questionnaire and observations, analyzed using descriptive statistics with help of SPSS and presented on tables. The research revealed that more women are involved in mushroom farming than men with experience of less than one year. The spawn and mushroom products are expensive for a common person to afford. The determination of humidity and temperature in growing house is a problem due to lack of right instruments. The cost- benefit analysis showed that the returns of sugarcane are higher compared to mushroom, however there is no competition between them on surface area. There is poor record keeping and 19 challenges have been identified which affect the producers. It was concluded that there were knowledge gaps on appropriate management practices, quality of spawn, marketing strategies, record keeping and methods of preservation. Therefore the following recommendations have been proposed so as to vibrant mushroom farming: Varieties diversification. trainings of farmers on mushroom production skills good management practices, proper record keeping use of bagasse and sugarcane trash and availability of credit facilities.