SUNBIZ

Mushroom Farm Yields First Returns

Bula Mushroom is based at Navula Road in Natabua, and is grown in a temperature regulated shipping container.
10 Sep 2020 13:49
Mushroom Farm Yields First Returns
From left: Bula Mushrooms co-diirector Vinit Lal with his first customer Bonny Zhao at the commercial farm in Lautoka. Photo: Charles Chambers

Bula Mushroom, Fiji’s new commercial mushroom farm, harvested its first yield this week, raking in a monthly revenue of around $1170.

Mushrooms are harvested every three weeks, and sell at $15 to $25 a kilogram.

Mushroom farming is not labour intensive and requires minimal workforce.

Bula Mushroom is based at Navula Road in Natabua, and is grown in a temperature regulated shipping container.

The farm is owned by Vinit Lal, his wife Chaya and their business partner Tomasi Dakuibari.

Its Tacirua extension in Suva, is owned by Mr Lal and his wife Chaya Kumar.

Fijian-grown oyster mushroom

The substrates, from which the oyster mushrooms grow, are stored in a temperature-controlled cooler container.

The overheads of a mushrom farm operation would mainly involve electricity bills, as regulated temperatures are key to the successful growth of edible mushrooms.

“We brought the adjacent land to allow us to branch out into commercialised substrates production, and theereby increase our turnover to 1000 substrates per container,” co-director Vinit Lal said.

“Given the right temperature, humidity and lighting conditions, one can expect around one kilogramme to two kilogrammes of harvest from each substrate, which can be harvested approximately two to three times, in four to six weeks, with mushroom price at around $25 a kilogram.”

“However, commitment, dedication and patience are needed in cultivating mushrooms.”

Locals urged to farm

Bula Mushroom will soon be available in local supermarkets in a show of Fijian-grown oyster mushroom.

Bonny Zhao, a customer, was the first at the harvest to purchase matured mushrooms.

She is expected to be a regular customer.

“Mushroom farming is not a widely popular form of farming in Fiji,” Mr Lal said.

“Even though mushrooms are imported, mushroom farming is something new and conventional farmers are unaware of its production process.

“Growing mushrooms from substrates is just one of the many components in mushroom farming.”

Mr Lal said the Agriculture Ministry had urged farmers to grow edible mushrooms on a commercial scale.

Training

Bula Mushroom offers training courses on how to farm mushrooms.

“Those who are interested can follow our Facebook Page – Bula Mushroom for training updates,” Mr Lal said.

The mushrooms are conducive to Fiji’s tropical climate and were the only variety well adapted to the local environment.

“Mushroom cultivation requires a lot of effort,” Mr Lal said.

“Farmers who are producing from substrates should not distort the market by charging lower prices.”

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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