Do you know that Mushroom farming and cultivation is a money-spinning business in Nigeria? Yet so many people are ignorant about this fact and are yet to explore the potential despite the fact that Nigeria has a highly conducive climate for the production of Mushrooms in Large Volumes. In this interview with Rose Nneji, who is into the Mushroom business, you will discover all you need to know about the business and what it entails.
My Name is Nneji Rose aka Miss Adorable. I am a second child of a family of eight(8). Graduate of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Bsc Public Administration and Local Gov’t Studies.
I am a lady with a desire to raise agricultural giants with successful chains of businesses and am very much interested in women. I attended primary and secondary school here in Lagos before going over to Enugu for my university degree.
I attended some agricultural trainings in recent times. Currently, I am on training under Dr Lauretta Ofordile, a notable mushroom consultant.
HOW SHE VENTURED INTO MUSHROOM BUSINESS.
Venturing into mushroom business was more of a coincidence than my plan, I call it a journey of surprise. It started November last year, a friend of mine was invited for an interview and she dragged me along. At the time, I had resigned from my job, not because I had gotten a new job but because of the emptiness I continually felt even after working with them for two years. Though I was good at the job but was always depressed and unhappy. It took me months to make that decision but I finally took that bold step.
It turned out the company my friend took me to for the interview was into mushrooms. I was surprised and at the same time disappointed when the General Manager told us he wanted us to market Mushrooms. But I decided to give it a shot and along the line I fell in love with it and I started making personal research about it.
After one month of marketing mushrooms for the company I got a better opportunity to learn how to grow mushrooms under Dr Ofordile Lauretta, a botanist and a founder of edible mushroom business in Nigeria.
Though i am still on training, I have started my own business and i have recorded massive sales.
Normally mushroom training (basics) last for two weeks, with that anyone can start off but I want to learn more. I don’t expect my coach to transfer what she learnt in eight years to me in 2 months.
She is an expert in the field and I know volunteering to work with her after my training will give me more opportunity to learn. Working with Akomz Farms opened my eyes to opportunities in growing shrooms.
Also the joy i feel doing something totally new, prompted my decision to go further into the business.
ON WHETHER SHE HAS GOT ANY REGRETS SO FAR
Not really but I must confess it hasn’t been easy especially convincing people to buy because a lot of people are ignorant of the wonders of shrooms. Discoveries I made from my research helped to fuel my passion for the business. I felt like wow so mushroom can do all these things???
ABOUT THE CHALLENGES SHE IS FACING IN THE BUSINESS
Ignorance is the highest challenge. Many people are ignorant about mushrooms. As I go about my business every day I see people at the Bus stop, Malls, Eateries, Hotels asking me what is this thing you are carrying. Serious awareness campaign is needed. Many people don’t know about the plant let alone knowing they can make a living out of it.
Information dissemination has been a major challenge. A lot more people need to hear about mushrooms. They need to know all the benefits they can get with mushrooms. Media houses should help spread the good news and save people from health challenges due to ignorance.
Another challenge is preservation of the fresh mushrooms, its life span is quite low about 2 weeks. Standard chillers are expensive so if they are not well preserved they will spoil.Anyways one can dry them. Properly dried ones last over 8 months.
BENEFITS OF MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms are very very beneficial. Apart from the health benefits mushrooms affect the natural habitat of man, they help boost the ecosystem.
Coming to the financial aspect of it, the business is new in Nigeria but not to other parts of the world. It is a very lucrative business especially when it is done on a large scale. Apart from local consumption mushrooms are exported to other parts of the world. There is a wide market for shrooms in Nigeria and beyond.
Pharmaceutical companies use it for drug production, cosmetic industries, food industries, textile etc. Chinese, Indians and many other countries eat mushroom. The market for Shroom is very wide but very much untapped in Nigeria.
Mushrooms can be used to prevent cancer, arthritis, diabetics, boost hair growth, cure bald hair, burn belly fat, and cure blindness among others. It is the only plant with high concentration of nitrogen and no fat.
ON HOW MUSHROOMS CAN HELP NIGERIA’S ECONOMY
It will in so many ways. Providing employment opportunities to the teaming youth. You will not only employ yourself but also employ others both skilled and unskilled labor.
It will also help our youth to be more creative and innovative ie processing the mushrooms into other products hence promoting GDP. Engaging youth helps reduce crime rate in the country and rate of migration. In fact the list goes on and on.
Recently, we pitched one Hotel at Isaac John, Ikeja. After several trials, we finally sealed the deal. From that hotel alone, we make N150,000 weekly. Last week, we got a referral from the same hotel to supply Four Points Hotel in Victoria Island. It has been a beautiful journey and we look forward to more.
The amazing part is that with as low as N60,000 you can start mushroom business on a small scale. If you don’t want to produce, you can buy from the farmers and resell, you will still make a lot of money.
HER SOURCE OF MOTIVATION
Working with my coach Dr Lauretta Ofordile has been a great source of motivation for my business. I have a mentor to fall back on. She has been a strong support to me. Like I said earlier you can’t transfer what you learnt for 8years in few months. Dr Ofordile learnt mushrooms for 8 years in Netherlands, China, US among others.
I am barely 3 months in the business so I am still learning. She has successfully trained a lot of people in the business, helped them set up their farms and their businesses are doing very well. I am still very much her mentee.
Another source of motivation for me is when I train people online or in a physical class. I feel overjoyed doing it and I am happy knowing other people want to learn something new.
How did it happen? It started from the desire to try something new.
HER WORD OF ADVICE TO NIGERIANS HOPING TO VENTURE INTO ONE BUSINESS OR THE OTHER
My word of advice to them is go for what excite you. You definitely will not understand everything in the beginning but be quick to start don’t delay. Building mansions start with laying blocks.
Attend trainings, network with other people of like minds. Believe in yourself and what God can do through you and you will see the sky is just a starting point.
Finally, do not be afraid to start something new, forget the saying that you must sell what people want. It is possible to make people want what you have if you properly sell the benefits to them. There is no business not worth giving a trial no matter how stupid it may sound. Once you are consistent with what you do and make noise about it, it will surely become a popular demand soon.
TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD A LOYAL CLIENT BASE
First of all, always be thankful to your clients for patronizing your brand. Once they are satisfied, you too will be satisfied.
Secondly, never forget to over deliver. Exceed their expectations because right there in the womb of that client is the birth of another client.
Also, be friendly with them. I know they can be annoying at times but be friendly. I went to supply mushrooms somewhere last week and the man in charge started asking me out. At a point, I felt offended but instead, I took a different approach. I pitched my maize farming business to him and he was hooked. Now, he wants to invest.
So you never can tell, that problem could be a solution to your problem.
In a nutshell, start something for yourself no matter how small and watch yourself flourish. Thank you Jayinspire for this great opportunity.
For more information and training on how to start the Mushroom Business, you can follow @Rose Nneji on Facebook.