Upendo Mushroom Growers attend Workshop at Jomo Kenyatta University

Far in the “damning hot soils” of Juja—an arid region just 36 km northeast of Nairobi—the Upendo mushroom growers of Molo district attended a one-day workshop on mycelium at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. They also visited Juja-based farmers who are successfully cultivating the fungi in soil-and-wood constructed houses.

Oyster mushrooms are not only delicious and high in protein but provide income to farmers and are especially important to people n arid parts of developing countries.

The Upendo Mushroom Growers started growing oyster mushrooms this year with mixed results—they believe that some of the problems they faced stemmed from contaminated “seeds” (spawn).

The idea behind Friday’s visit, which NECOFA sponsored, was partly to give the growers a greater depth of knowledge about mycelium and partly to demonstrate that they cannot grow quality mushrooms without quality spawn, which they can only get from experts with specialized equipment (the university, for instance). Jomo Kenyatta university uses a mixture of mushroom spores, sorghum, lime-derivate calcium carbonate, dextrose and a number of sterilization gadgets and lab equipment worth approximately $30 to $40 million Kenya Shillings to create high-growth spawn using what they call “binary creation” techniques. Partly funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the university is the only institution in East Africa that provides research on mycelium.

IDEA coordinator and practicing mushroom farmer James Njore and his associate John Mucheru also participated in the visit.

Mushroom Factoid: Even expert mycologists haven’t yet fully plumbed the depths of this mysterious lifeform. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, author Michael Pollen has this to say about it: “What we call a mushroom is only the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger and essentially invisible organism that lives most of its life underground. The mushroom is the “fruiting body” of a subterranean network of microscopic hyphae, improbably long rootlike cells that thread themselves through the soil like neurons. Bunched like cables, the hyphae form webs of (still microscopic) mycelium. Mycologists can’t dig up a mushroom like a plant to study its structure because its mycelia are too tiny and delicate to tease from the soil without disintegrating. Hard as it may be to see a mushroom—the most visible and tangible part!—to see the whole organism of which it is merely a component may simply be impossible. Fungi also lack the comprehensible syntax of plants, the orderly and visible chronology of seed and vegetative growth, flower, fruit, and seed again. The fungi surely have a syntax of their own, but we don’t know all its rules, especially the ones that govern the creation of a mushroom, which can take three years or thirty, depending. On what? We don’t really know (374).”

Want to grow your own mushrooms? Click to find out what you need to get started.

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93 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Njambi on October 19, 2007 at 11:55 am

    This is a very interesting subject to me as I am really interested in getting into Mushroom growing. I would welcome any further information about trainings/workshops or visits that I might participate in to increase my knowledge on mushroom growing.

    Reply

  2. [...] the country to provide on-site training – they also organize visits to research centers, farms, and universities. In addition, NECOFA is at the forefront of reviving the country’s 4-K School Garden Club by [...]

    Reply

  3. Please give more details on mushroom growing. I want details because am thinking of starting to grow some but your website is so shallow.

    Reply

    • Posted by rosy russell on May 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm

      Please could you help me start growing mushrooms. I live on the Kitengela and have manure from 2 horses and one cow which i thought might be good for mushroom growing.
      I would much appreciate any help you could give me plus telling me where I can buy the spores.
      Thanking you in advance
      Rosy

      Reply

  4. Posted by Gathiru Muhunyu on May 18, 2008 at 6:07 am

    NECOFA, you are on the right track in sustainable rural development for our beautiful country, Kenya

    Reply

  5. Posted by Rosemary Muigai on June 3, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Hi, My name is Rosemary and am based in Nairobi, I am interested in mushroom farming and i would appreciate any help and information to get me started.

    Regards
    Rosemary

    Reply

  6. Posted by anthony on September 18, 2008 at 11:24 am

    hi
    i am an interested party willing to get involved in mushroom farming but am being held back by various set backs of lack of adequate information,could you advise me on who can see me through in attaining such information

    Reply

  7. Posted by anthony on September 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

    please do get back
    thank you
    mobile 0724482080

    Reply

  8. Posted by mira on September 20, 2008 at 11:06 am

    can you discuss more detail about the statement “mushrooms are like the tip of the iceberg”?i need to understand more about it.thank you.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Eunice Irungu on November 4, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I live in the Coast Province of Kenya, what is the potential and challenges for growing mushrooms in this region?. Kindly advise.

    Eunice

    Reply

  10. Posted by MISHECK MURAGE on November 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    This is a good initiative in Kenya. You make me proud to be a Kenyan. Could you please help me.I’m a starter in the mushroom growing business in Nairobi.What is the future in this in terms of: the methods of growing oyster mushrooms, marketing economics, the financial challenges. Thank you for this golden opportunity. MISHECK MURAGE

    Reply

  11. Posted by kariuki kahiga on January 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Please let me know how I can access the mushroom market. I’ve laid down plans to grow oyster next month.

    Reply

    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on April 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      Dear Kahiga,
      Thank you for visiting our blog,, We would wish to get in touch with you, to know more about you mushroom production. Please get in touch ;jane_karanja2001@yahoo.com

      Reply

  12. Posted by josphat m runkua on January 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    kudos for the good work. mushroom growing can greatly improve food security in kenya.

    Reply

  13. Posted by rosy russell on May 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    please can you help me with information on growing mushrooms. i live on the kitengela and have horse manure plus the manure from one cow. i just have no idea on how to get started.

    thank you in advance

    Rosy

    Reply

  14. Posted by cyril ondieki on May 22, 2009 at 5:25 am

    Thanks for the insight on mushroom farming. I am planning to start mushroom farming later this year but supporting literature and training facilities are scarce. Could you please provide relevant books that can assist me to understand more on mushroom farming? When and where can someone get training on mushroom farming?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tedd Kemo on August 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

      I come from Kericho. I have been thinking of foraging into mushroom growing. I have poured through some papers on mushroom growing and they all say the same thing: expertise, spawn, huge initial investment. Now if someone can direct me on the first two … even the third … I would be very thankful. Or if anyone would like a partner to venture into the biz just write me.

      Reply

      • Posted by Louis Agina on August 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

        please give me a call on 0721378487

      • Posted by Elijah mburu makumi on June 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        Have u got some help yet?we have an organisation encouraging people to grow and still buying from them and teach them to grow both oyster and button m.rooms!we invite you to it and it will really help..call 0711756866 for mo info!thanks

  15. Posted by Theo Marube on May 26, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I would like to send my sister for a training in mushroom growing. Please let me know if there is a short training available and how your organisation can help her start the mushroom farming business. Call me on 0722648352

    Reply

  16. Posted by Nderitu on June 12, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Hello Am also interested in Mushroom growing and am based in Nakuru so anyone with info please hit back, Nderitu

    Reply

  17. Posted by Ben on July 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Hi,
    Im in interested in Mushroom farming in Eastern province and would really appreciate any information on how i can get started, how to go about the planting of the mushroom seed the cultivation and harvesting a well as possible markets where i can sell the mushrooms.
    Ben

    Reply

  18. Posted by Harrison Maina on July 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Hi where can i get more information on mushrooms?is there a place where i can get to see it practically.and how can i get the training?am very eager to start this business but i need sufficient knowledge

    Reply

    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on September 20, 2009 at 6:42 am

      Hey Harrison, thank you for visiting our blog, the best place you can learn about mushroom growing is at Jomo kenyatta University, they normally have trainings depending on ones needs.
      Check it out!!

      Reply

  19. Posted by Joshua Waweru on July 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    My names are Joshua Waweru, I reside in Nakuru. I hereby kindly request to be assisted with all the literature regarding Mushrooms growing and more so marketing strategies.

    I have a plot which is lying idle and i would like to utilize it and perhaps create employment to the people.

    I appreciate in advance for any information that will be availed to me.

    I sincerely congratulate you on your 16Th graduation ceremony being held today the 29/7/2009.

    Warm regards,

    Joshua.

    Reply

    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on March 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      Hey Joshua,
      Thank you very much for visiting our blog, and sorry for the delay in replying to your request.
      Much of the information on mushroom growing and the best varieties can be checked out from Jomo Kenyatta University, they got trainings on the same, which are tailored to meet individual needs,, kindly visit their website for more information.
      All the best,
      Jane

      Reply

  20. Posted by Akomo on July 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for this vital info on mushroom. I am interested in growing mushroom in Athi river area, Kenya and I ask for step-by-step guidance on its implementation on a small scale. If available pls also give info about possible export markets.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Karen Kihara on July 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Hi
    Kindly give me information on how i can get accessed to both large & small scale mushrooms farmers here in Kenya because i am interested in doing this bussiness very soon,Please help me.

    Reply

  22. Posted by lucy on November 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Please let me know how I can access the mushroom market. I’ve laid down plans to grow oyster next month. and also more information on mashroom growing

    Reply

  23. Posted by Gatonye on November 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I’d wish to get details about building a growing room for mushrooms, what size, materials, design, etc.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Boniface Muhoro on December 31, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I kindly ask to be briefed on how i can grow Oyster mushroon and also how i can reach a market of the same. I live Ithanga Thika.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Boniface Muhoro on December 31, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I have heard of mushroom farming and have been trying to get more information to no avail until i logged on the web.

    Reply

  26. Posted by reuben on January 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Please could you help me start growing mushrooms. I live on the dandora and have manure from one cow which i thought might be good for mushroom growing.
    I would much appreciate any help you could give me plus telling me where I can buy the spores.
    Thanking you in advance

    Reply

  27. Posted by reuben on January 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Hay give me the sample of mashrooms being planted and their requirements?

    Reply

    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on March 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      Hey Reuben,
      Thank you for visiting our blog, I would advice you to check out the trainings on mushroom from Jomo Kenyatta University, they provide a lot of information on cultivation and marketing,
      Wish you all the best.
      Jane

      Reply

  28. [...] farmers with on-site training – they also organize visits to research centers, farms, and universities. In addition, NECOFA is at the forefront of reviving the country’s 4-K School Garden Club by [...]

    Reply

    • Posted by antony choma on April 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

      I’m interested in growing mushrooms but i don’t have the required knowledge.
      could you please help me get trained. if possible refer me to a place/ school where they offer this.
      thank you.

      Reply

  29. Posted by Timothy kamau on May 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I am planting mushroom consultant in Kenya central province.Farming button mushroom if interested contact me on +254-710-203597 or timomarleygiks@live.com

    Reply

  30. Posted by stephen kungu on May 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hi;

    I am a farmer from Laikipia and having difficulty with a suitable market for the fresh oyster(white)i have successfully propagated.i will over 2 months be expecting 200kgs of these.Kindly point me to suitable buyers.thanks.

    steve

    Reply

    • Posted by William Karega on September 7, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Bwana Steve,

      I am curious to know if you succeeded in solving the challenge of finding a market. Please let me know how the situation is now.

      Reply

  31. Posted by carolyne mudenyo on June 7, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Hi iam new on your site and what i needed was information about mushroom growing,suitable areas in kenya for growing them,resources,generally how to go about it,i will try to visit the JKUAT website like you suggested,nice work.

    Reply

  32. Posted by Miruri Njoroge on June 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Am interested in mushroom growing mostly button mushroom for canning please i would like to visit various growers with Kenya based in Naivasha or Nakuru,to see what he/she is doing it.
    Miruri

    Reply

    • Posted by NECOFA Kenya on August 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      Hey Njoroge,
      Thank you for visiting our blog,, if you are near Molo, we can connect you with one mushroom farmer. Call me on : 0715639223

      Reply

  33. Posted by mark on July 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Hi.

    I am based in Nairobi and am interested in mushroom farming. What advise would give a starter like myself

    Reply

  34. Posted by Penina on September 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Hi, I want to start a commercial mushroom project in Nairobi Central district. Please advice me how to construct the mud and stick shed or any other alternative ways of construction. I also need help with the marketing. Any leads will be highly appreciated.

    Reply

  35. hello,i have tried so much to check the university website but it aint giving anything about training and staff.

    Reply

  36. Posted by Fredrick Ndoro on October 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hello,
    I am interested in getting in touch with a farmers group in the Nakuru-Nyahururu area who are interested in mushroom growing or start-up and training. I would like to make use of substrates like wheat straw, maize cob and napier grass in getting some value-addition products like mushrooms.
    Fred Ndoro
    0722385733

    Reply

  37. Dear Sir,madam,I am Muhandi Nava,Sri Lankan,came from Dubai to promote our health products here in Nairobi.I’d love to know how to grow Mushrooms.And like to make a mushroom farm.Pls let me know the information.here is my no. 0723949797

    Reply

  38. Posted by Jean-Claude on December 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Dear Sir,
    I’m looking for mushroom farm near Mombasa.
    Could you help me?
    Thank you
    Jean-Claude

    Reply

  39. Posted by G. OCHIENG on January 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I am interested so much mushroom growing please send me more information and more so how I may be able to access the market here in Kenya.

    Reply

  40. i am reaaaally interested to start a small scale mushroom farm in limuru but i don’t know how to go abuot it please assist

    Reply

  41. Posted by Elizabeth Alich on February 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I live in Kitengela and an interest in mushroom growing please advise

    Reply

  42. Posted by GOODWILL OCHIENG on February 24, 2011 at 8:48 am

    please keep me posted of your next workshop. I really wish to know more about mushrooms.

    Reply

  43. Posted by OLESI USAGI on May 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Am a young mushroom grower. I would like to get the first generation spawn which I cant find. I wish I could know where to get the same.

    Reply

  44. Posted by susan wangari on May 17, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I am interested in growing mushrooms and i do not have adequate information on mushroom growing. Kindly let me know if you have any workshops with i can attend.
    Thanks

    Reply

  45. Hi,
    I’m interested in growing mushrooms. I have noticed that most supermarkets sell button mushrooms and was thinking of speializing in those. How much would it cost to start the whole thing assuming that I already have land? alos where can one go for training on growing mushrooms and at what cost?
    L.N.

    Reply

  46. Posted by SamuelKamiri on July 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi, i live in Juja Jomo Kenyatta University and am really interested to start Mashroom farm.
    What do i do? where do i start?

    S.K

    Reply

  47. Posted by Edgar on July 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Hi, I’m a farmer in Kitengela interested in growing mushrooms. Please advice.

    Reply

  48. Where can one buy mushroom spawn from? I heard that JKUAT sells some for 600 bob a kilo but i dont know if its true.I am planning to plant button mushrooms.

    Reply

  49. Posted by Roselyne sitati on March 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Hi. I have started growing mushrooms with very shallow inform. I will really appreciate if u send me full and detailed inform to help me be successful in my project. If you offer seminars i wouldnt mind attending. Thank you.

    Reply

  50. Posted by evans on April 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    please give me details am ready to grow and sell mushrooms.am in kikuyu

    Reply

  51. Hi, I am from Nairorobi doing academic business plan on Oyetser Mushroom. Can you assist on the production plan and Marketing startege in doing the cultivation. reply

    Reply

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  53. Posted by Nyawira on September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Is there a know mushroom farmer in Meru? I need to study on the same and maybe try it out.

    Reply

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  61. Posted by Naomi on October 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

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  62. Posted by Kinyunye on October 31, 2012 at 5:06 am

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    Reply

  63. Posted by daniel njoroge on November 5, 2012 at 6:02 am

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    Reply

  64. Posted by victor mamati on November 12, 2012 at 9:03 am

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  65. Posted by Gladys on November 12, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Hi, Am a mushroom farmer in Uganda. Could you connect me to any of your representatives here in Kampala, Uganda for assistance in growing oyster mushrooms and market please. Thanks. Rgds. Gladys

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