Commercial mushroom farming gains momentum in South Africa

By Halligan Agade 

In recent years, mushroom growing has spawned thousands of jobs as demand for the crop continues to grow. Highveld Mushrooms, is one of the oldest farms in Johannesburg. Ross Richardson took over the farm from his dad back in 2008.

“The compost is the heart of the whole process and you’ve got to make a good substrate for the mushrooms to grow. And in it, there are lots of microflora and processes that occur so it’s all about the quality of your own materials,” Richardson, who doubles up as the Chairman of the SA Mushroom Farmers Association said.

The process of growing mushrooms takes about 12 weeks. It’s a complex process that Highveld has perfected over the years.

Mushroom farming remains quite a small niche market in South Africa but it is growing in popularity.

“As the market sizes have gone up and people have become more familiar with mushrooms, mushrooms are now sitting in the top five of the revenue items in the Fruit and Veg section which we are quite pleased about,” Richardson said.

The main export markets for South Africa are Mauritius and Zambia.

Report by Sumitra Nydoo

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