GFAR blog

YAP Proposal #35: “Mushroom Farming” (Serem Sila, Kenya)

mushroom farming

I am Serem Sila, 28 years old, from Kenya. I am sustainable agriculturalist, and permaculture designer by profession and also agriprepreneur.

My project is about growing mushrooms. Mushroom farming is so fascinating by the fact that it has high nutritional value, can be farmed out of waste that means cheap to produce and surprisingly fetch high price in market.

The value of producing one kilogram here in Kenya is $1.25 and that kilogram sells at least $6 that makes it the highest gross-margine agricultural enterprise.

I will grow mushrooms in bagass maize cobs, animal manure which are readily available locally. Kenya produces 500 tonnes of mushrooms annually and her demand is 1200 tonnes want to reduce this gap .

Mushrooms grows from variety of substrate which are locally available, requires small space, it doesn’t require use of chemicals making it eco-friendly. All this facts makes it affordable to all social classes that really what motivates me.

I will achieve all this by setting up a commercial model farm where we pay attention to every details in providing right humidity, temperature and high standard hygiene. I will dedicate maximum time it deserve and observe self discipline. I will do extensive market research to get right market.

I have already identified the mushroom type to grow. I have already carried out trials to identify its challenges. Now I know every detail of its challenges ranging from diseases to pest I also know the facts of its success. I got traditional structure and land to build on. Muliro university mushroom center help me in research and trials.

The measure of success will be measured on how the project is making the difference in the community i.e. providing employment, offering a worth it alternative protein and mostly important how many kilograms are we making it available to uncertified growing Kenyan market.

I have divided funds in to three phases in accordance to implementation of the project

Phase one:
Time frame: 4 months, Amount $2500
Activity: Improve structure; install water system, installing steaming drums and building shelves

Phase two:
Time frame: 2 months, Amount $1500
Activity: collection of substrate material, seeds and planting.

Phase three:
Time frame: 4 months, Amount $1000
Activity: routine management, harvesting packaging and marketing.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Serem Sila (Kenya) – sseremsilasila(at)

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as proposal #35 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

960 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #35: “Mushroom Farming” (Serem Sila, Kenya)”

      1. Silas hope you see,its so wonderful when African agricultural preffesions are actually are enganging in practical agriculture not waiting for white collar jobs ..lead the way and others will follow

    1. Hope when you will be in office you will encourage more of this..youths should know that agriculture has the least risks especially in our county .

  1. This is good Silas, this is the only way for African youth to be part of the changing world. This is a great initiative, thumbs up.

  2. BRILLIANT IDEA. this is going to expand opportunities for Kenyan youth and entrepreneurs to grow. above all create employment to many jobless Kenyans. i support the initiative wholeheartedly

  3. I will always support best ideas.Innovation is key in agriculture in a country yearning for food security and diversity.All the best Sila Serem

  4. The best entrepreneur .youths needs to emulated this guy.he has done great.self employment is a sure way of earning money. #sila serem

    1. The government too should create opportunities or avenues for such great ideas to be actualized,I believe there are many youth like him.

      1. hello silah….wondered if i can get ua contacts…i really want to start the project and i wld appreciate for your guidance. thank you in advance

  5. Serem has the drive and know-how to do this. I really believe he will be a success. In fact, he already is. Not only does he have a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a permaculture design certificate, but he has the land and other resources on which to grow the mushrooms. This YAP grant will give give him the added boost to get his entrepreneurial venture going. The world needs Serem!
    I am committed to help him succeed.

  6. YAP Proposal #35: “Mushroom Farming” (Serem Sila, Kenya)
    Brilliant idea that will increase food security and nutrition in our country and even create job opportunities for the youth and women once the idea is sold out to many.

  7. Great idea Silas….this will go alongway in creating employment to fellow youth and wealth to Nandi County!

  8. this is a well baked idea whose time as come. Kudos mr serem. waiting eagerly to see your project taking off. wish u all the best

  9. Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and always takes place in the framework of high expectation. You inspire me cuzo, I wish you all the best.

    1. Gone are those days,i miss those days it was really going round the village collecting mushrooms

  10. What a great initiative. It will benefit so many people. Thank you for your good work, Serem! I endorse this project.

    1. Am seeing myself running a successful multi-millions mushroom company wth hundreds of mushroom seeing myself touching lives especially the handiccaped

  11. Good question.u need the following..susbtrate, lime ,seeds,molusses,chickmass,methylated spirit,cotton wool and bags of your choice it can be sugar bags etc…first mix molusses,chickmass lime in water,20litres takes a kilo of each.sprinkle this mixture on a dry substrate till its saturated then add chickmass.steam it for atleast two hours leave it to cool then but it into the bag of your choice.add your seeds..1 kilo of seeds plants around 20kg of substrate.create a small opening at the top of the bag,put cotton wetted with methylated spirit at the entrance of the opening.this opening wth the help of pipe place the bags on shelves and wait for one month to harvest your mushrooms

      1. You can use it but i dont recommend, it doesnt sustain long production

  12. wow silo am realy proud of u,u are doing a great thing,i know ul bring a positive change to this country

  13. This is what we call creating employment and thinking outside the box I believe ur destined to greatness well done…. Tell us more about why u believe ur project deserves the funding? How can it change the life of the ordinary Kenyan?

    1. I deserve funding coz we realy need such projects..population is growing land is constant,we need enterprises that can utilise small space and still has high returns and ofcourse we need better protein

    2. Mushroom can be farm by anybody..require less produce one kilo only cost u around could ordinary mans goldmine

  14. How will you be transporting your mushrooms? Will you take them to the village on a certain day or will you create a produce stand at your home?

      1. Gud job silas am interested too….ua location pliz need to visit and see how its been done coz naona ata after explaining si shiki bado

  15. This is a Korean recipe for oyster mushrooms that looks very tasty and simple. I can’t wait to try it. Too bad I live so far from you, Serem Sila!

    YIELDMakes 8 (as part of a korean meal) servingsACTIVE TIME15 minTOTAL TIME1 hr

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 pound small oyster mushrooms (any large ones cut into 1-inch pieces), stems trimmed
    2 teaspoons cider vinegar

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sauté mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon salt until golden, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and sauté until evaporated, about 1 minute. Season with salt, then transfer to a plate to cool. Serve at room temperature.
    Cooks’ note:
    Mushrooms can be made 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

  16. I will create farm stand at my home..Miriam i didnt tell u this have found guys who buy mushrooms to feed hiv positive patients to somehow recover immunity.

  17. Guys if u were wondering where to get good mushroom recipe..Miriam Newman have just shared Korean recipe.

  18. This is simply perfect…Your brilliancy is worth emulation…If this goes on well,you’re headed for success…just expound for us on your market preference

    1. True..levis i dont get u abt my market preference?..customer preference is freshmushroom…mmh okey best market available.

  19. Your project seems to embrace environment friendly ways of farming….I hope there’s zero use of artificial fertilizers or rather environment unfriendly associated activities…please tell us about this

  20. Co granulation sila, that’s impressing job and recommendable creativity that young and energetic youth should follow…… We will pray for as you grow big wings to fly hight…..God uplift the work of your hands high.

  21. Yeah! This project has the power to impact the lives of so many! Not only will nutritional diversity be influenced but also diversity of crops for farmers in the region. Having a shingle example of success inspires others to take food soverignty into their hearts and hands. And increased acceptance and demand for mushrooms is great for Sila as he continues to developed his skills and starts preparing his own spawn which would make his business even more valuable.

      1. Silas I read you source spawn from University near you its wise for you to develop your spawn,it will make your project more sustainable.

  22. U realy know how take care of customers you were very promt to my order! i got it ! thank. come for your cash.

  23. This is encouraging! young people should take up to farming using the available resources. Indeed agriculture offers great opportunities to the young people. Thanks Serem for taking this step.

    1. I get my spawn at the nearby university..if you are interested in mushroom you can find at the university near you.

    1. Yeah its appleacable…but me i dont use fertilizers i use chickmash and molasses instead.

    1. Yea it has disease which suffocate spawn ..its called greenmould its caused by contamination of substrate or spawns

    1. Permaculture is a lifestyle where we try to live with nature not aganist nature..we observe how nature work and mimic it generally protecting nature so that it can protect us.

    1. Have liked mushrooms for many years my grandmother introduced us to it..late last year an American inspired me to farm it.

    1. From planting to fruiting stage it takes 5-6 weeks then usualy it take 4 days to mature

    1. How can he help me..mmh i get u yea he must have much experience in mushroom..i will appreciate .

  24. This is a challenge to other youthful people.Serem i see mushroom house is much darker i think you should allow much light.

    1. Yes it should be lighter but right now the humidity here is so low so i did this to keep moisture a little bit high.

    2. yea but it doesn’t have much negative doing so to try and modify humidity we are in hot month

  25. Have heard much about mushrooms,i feel pressure to do mushroom farming.will you help me?

    1. I will help where i can.i think have posted much about mushrooms it could realy help you.

  26. Am not familiar with oyester i know much about white button it is simple and easy to farm you should consider farming can find how to farm over the interenet.

  27. Are aware that mushroom tends to absorb metals which some are should be careful choosing your substrate.

    1. I dry using a market doesnt take mushroom dried directly with sun it affects its quality.

  28. Are you doing large scale farming? What is the distance bettween this mushrooms (i mean spacing)?

  29. creative and innovative mind at work. congratulation, keep it up. we know agriculture is the backbone of our economy in Kenya and through search intensive research and innovative mind that we shall prosper.

    1. its wise to start small ksh 5000 is enough if you got the structures already
      traditional one is good

  30. I have an idea..many ppe want to know about mushroom farming why dont you organise trainings in the village?

    1. anybody interested in the village is free to visit my farm and learn something its nice suggestion though thank you

  31. You should organise farms and form a cooperative it will go a long way in helping community around

  32. Its a brilliant.If you need more help financially try Uwezo fund they too can fund your idea.

  33. Am doing mushroom too,am in Nairobi currently am farming white button,i did oyster for one year and left it.i like what you are doing lets change Kenya to mushroom nation bye

  34. Serem Sila, have you taught others how to grow mushrooms? Perhaps that could be part of your business…selling the spawn to others. What are your thoughts?

    1. yeah I got..simple I’ll treat all my customers as a king and always offer right prices.

  35. true I really face it when spawn was colonizing substrate but I don’t I used anti-termites

    1. Wow what a discussion thanks for sharing am a big fun of Paul wish one day to meet him.

  36. Why dont you use bio-degradable bags or renewable bags to avoid situation dealing with waste in future

    1. True its new enterprise here in kenya especially in my village,people were suprised most of them upto date want to see mushroom seeds or spawn.some have opted already to go mushroom way.

  37. mushrooms are low in calories,fat-free,cholestral-free,gluten-free and very low in sodium yet they provide important nutrients including selenium,potassium 8%,riboflavin,niacin,vitamin D and more

    1. I feel nervous i feel i dont have enough comments but am confident am among the winners

  38. Guys am here to learn from you can i control snails and rodents without neccesary killing them?

    1. Change your watering schedule snails prefer moist earth as it is easier for them to travel over and they can move faster

    2. You can use beer trap,sprinkle crushed eggshells or salt all this can help try one by one and settle on that prove helpful

    3. This is chemistry,copper repels snails due to reaction between the metal and mucous,this sends the snail an unpleasant electro-neutral signal which basically feels like an electric shock.

      1. thanks for taking us back to our chemistry classes..nice contribution

    1. Mmh no..they cant be planted with other crops mushrooms grow in quit darkroom which discourage other crops to grow

  39. Which American inspired you to farm mushrooms? Was it me or someone else? If it’s someone else, I’m jealous!! 🙂

    1. Hahaha Miriam you sound funny..he was my permaculture classmate Jesse but you Mirium u hv been amazing to me all the information you are my google hehe am here because of you and if i win this its because of you am lucky to have you as friend.

  40. Your project is wonderful. Mushrooms are lovely and wonderful things. Best of luck to you and good wishes!

  41. mmmh mushroom farming is so interesting but really good for youth cos they still have a lot of extra time to concentrate on this activity. thanks Sila for pursuing in such a project despite a lot of challenges go a head God is with you

  42. Serem you can use beer trap..put some beer in a basin outside the structure beer smell attracts snails and slug.they will fall into the beer and drown

  43. You can use beer trap,sprinkle crushed eggshells or salt all this can help try one by one and settle on that prove helpful

  44. Hahaha Miriam you sound funny..he was my permaculture classmate Jesse but you Mirium u hv been amazing to me all the information you are my google hehe am here because of you and if i win this its because of you am lucky to have you as friend.

  45. use diatomaceous a type of powdered rocks made from the fossils of tyny sea has very sharp edges which is harmful to snails soft body

    1. I believe will exist as long humans will still consume cereals or rather there is still something to decay

      1. I saw mushrooms coffins may in 50 years you will in that line of business haha

  46. This is for you Serem and anybody who need spawn.Moi university has oyster and white button spawns!!!!

    1. you can’t tell by just looking ..needs testing, many pple hv poison themselves with mushrooms

    1. spores are seeds which develop into spawn ..spawns are fibre like which spread and penetrate through substrate

    1. you see before you introduce your spawn to substrate it has to be nothing live there,this is making sure nothing compete with spawn so you steam..that is the purpose of spawn

  47. there are two things that a successful entrepreneur has to have.its technical ability and marketing .do you have a reliable market?

  48. Serem for to be a successful entrepreneur you should put God first and you will be blessed.

  49. logistic are your product arrive at the market in time also do you produce quality product customers trust is so important

  50. That is good work and it is encouraging that materials used are locally available so as you empower other let us use mashroom because they are nutrious keep it up

  51. That is good work it is encouraging.that material is within our reach and nutrious value of mashroom is high just empower other youth also.

  52. Mushrooms are very delicious food and can be used to solve the problem of food shortage in Kenya, bravo Sila

    1. sadhana forest Kenya offers permaculture coarse.permaculture is all about living in harmony with mother earth

  53. it is my hope that you succeed so that you become a good role model not only in your village but the whole of Africa to the youth generation

  54. This initiative has the potential to propel your life to the highest heights. Do you have a plan for growth and use of technology in your project?

    1. 4-6 your mushrooms will be ready..if your mushrooms start turning yellowish and shrink it going bad

    1. good question.. You see my structure is small and not equipped.. Those money are more and cant accomondate all the mushroom the funds can fund so I have to improve structure and equipped it

    1. True..its called magic mushrooms ..I saw an article that argued it helps cancer patients to recover

  55. I so wonderful that everyone actually can afford to farm mushrooms ,encourage every youth to farm it okey..I know of a lady in India who have change peoples lives with mushrooms

  56. my dad is interested in mushroom how can find you or where can he find help on mushroom farming

    1. Okey good your dad is interested in mushroom farming,scroll through the comments you will find my number okey