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Mushroom value addition earns a Kakamega youth group Sh2,600 more


Emmanuel Wasike, a group member who was selling the produce during the Kakamega County Agricultural Society of Kenya Show

Emmanuel Wasike, Galaxy United Youth Group member while selling the produce during the Kakamega County Agricultural Society of Kenya Show. Photo: Laban Robert.

Galaxy United Youth Group in Kakamega County ventured in mushroom value addition to make products such as mushroom flour and soup among others earning the group Sh3,000 per kilo of mushroom sold against Sh400 per kilo of fresh mushroom.

The group which was formed in 2006 through an initiative by Paul Nyongesa Kisiangani, masters graduate from Masinde Muliro University, had is key purpose to bring once jobless youths together und the fungi farming. Members therefore, were only engaged in selling fresh mushroom to their customers until an idea cropped up that value addition could earn them more cash.

“We used to sell fresh mushrooms to our customers until around 2015 when through my research I realized that if only we could add value to our produce we could reach further and more markets and sell it at a higher price,” said Nyongesa.

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By a locally fabricated solar drier made of timber, greenhouse polythene papers and shed nets, the group is now able to dry their mushrooms before grinding them into powderthat are packed under Galaxy Mushroom brand name then sold to supermarkets and some of the fresh produce groceries within Kakamega town, Kisumu, Eldoret, Busia and Bungoma among others.

“The value addition has earned us more markets as we can now sell our products in faraway markets such as markets in Nairobi and Mombasa.”

The two cities are approximately 358km and 840km respectively away from Kakamega.

The 32 member group which invested Sh80,000 which was purely from the contributions of the members is now running about Sh4m oyster mushroom production business in the western region.

“The market was low at the start, but we kept pressing because we knew the potential in the delicacy. Today, Galaxy Youth Group is a household name in the leading supermarkets in the country and homes of oyster mushroom lovers,” said Nyongesa.

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Financial benefits of mushrooms

The group harvests at least 1.5 tonnes of oyster mushrooms every month from about seven propagation houses, which they sell as dry or fresh vegetable.

A kilo of dry mushroom is sold at Sh3,000 while the same amount of fresh mushrooms fetches Sh400. If the 1.5 tonnes are sold after drying, they rake in a gross income of Sh4.5m while fresh one fetches Sh600,000.

“It takes Sh110 to produce one kilogramme of fresh mushrooms. At least Sh1,100 is required to produce  one kilo of dry mushroom. The dry mushroom is packed into 50 grammes for easy selling. But packing into kilos on special orders is also available,” said Nyongesa.

This means that the group spends Sh1.65m in producing 1.5 tonnes of dry mushroom, leaving them with a net profit of Sh2.85m.

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On the other hand, Sh165,000 is spent in producing fresh mushrooms, which leaves them with a net income of Sh435,000.

According to Nyongesa, the group will soon start making mushroom soup which he says has a good potential market in the region and beyond.

“Apart from the mushroom soup, we also want to make a special porridge flour for the children as we target some of the ECD centres from the surrounding.”

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