Mrs. Ekeobong Daniel is crop scientist and mushroom farmer. She ventured into the mushroom business in 2018 and testifies to the healing properties of mushroom and how profitable the business is. Mrs. Daniel, who is a PhD student at the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, speaks on why she ventured into the business.
How has it been since you started mushroom business?
I had passion for it when I saw an advert on mushroom farming training in a group I belong to in 2018. I realised it was a crop that has not been taught in school. I decided to go for the training and paid my way to Ibadan. The training was for one week and I spent about N50,000, which covered transportation, accommodation and the training. I was given a certificate after the training and when I came back, I decided to put it into practice, and since then, I have not had any regrets.
How has the training helped you?
After I finished school in 2012, I did not work until I ventured into the mushroom business. I started doing something reasonable for myself in 2018. I am also into fish farming, but it is seasonal, I do the catfish business only during the rainy season.
What does it take to start mushroom business?
It does not take much capital; with N100,000 or N150,000 you can start the business. All you need is an abandoned poultry house or if you have a space of your own, you can build a place. Only the building aspect requires a lot of capital.
How is the market so far?
The market has been great! I can’t meet the demands of my customers. Sometimes, I beg them to be patient because the weather could obstruct the growth of the crop and you may not have enough yield to supply your customers.
Are you saying the business has favourable seasons?
Mushroom is a crop that does not like heat, and we are currently in the hot season. And during harmattan, the crop is stunted. These are the periods we experience hazards on the farm. Outside heat and harmattan periods, the growth of mushroom is encouraging.
Would you say it is more profitable than paid employment?
Yes! I make nothing less than N2,000 a day in this business, sometimes N3,000 or N4,000, depending on the quantity I sell. If you calculate N2,000 daily for a month, you will realise that it pays more than the salary of a first degree holder.
How do you get customers?
I have customers mostly on Facebook and I visit hospitals a lot since it is a crop that deals with health. I visit diabetic patients and have customers that I supply to every day.
When you eat mushroom, it reduces your sugar level. Some people who are placed on dialysis take mushroom constantly, but mushrooms are not for patients with advanced diabetes.
Would you advise women who want to go into business to consider mushroom?
Yes! It is a good place to start if only you have passion for it, because you must have passion for anything you do for it to succeed. If you are passionate and guard it jealously, you will succeed. Any woman out there thinking of a business to venture into, mushroom business is a good business you can invest in and have no regrets. You will have no regrets investing in the agricultural sector, no losses, you only have good outcomes.
How do you balance business and the home front?
I love agriculture because it is a part of me. I have studied agriculture in school since 2005 when I started my first degree, as well as at the masters’ level and now I am into agriculture at the PhD level. I manage being a business woman and mother by planning. As a mother, after sending my children off to school in the morning, I visit my farm, work there, harvest the crops and then visit my customers. Since I know that by 01:00pm, I need to get my children from school, I adjust my time so that after supplying my customers with mushroom, I go back to my books.
What advice do you have for Nigerians seeking paid employment?
Don’t sit down there watching and waiting for that job. I finished my first degree in 2012 and up till now, I don’t have a paid job, but I have no regrets because I know I am fulfilled. I have come to understand that sitting down and folding your hands waiting for paid job is not encouraging. If you have a little capital, don’t keep it in the bank, but invest it in mushroom business. It will help.