Saturday, April 26, 2014

There’s money in mushroom farming

For empty swiftlet house, this may be a good way of utilizing it into mushroom cultivation as reported in the Borneo Post. The dark environment and high humidity inside the Swiftlet house maybe conducive   for mushroom growing.

Borneo Post by Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING: Locals who dabble in mushroom farming enjoy huge growth potential as there is global demand for this edible fungus.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Bumiputra Entrepreneur Development) Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais said these farmers could make it big faster if they invest in modern technologies to grow and preserve their products.

“The profit will be better for the farmers if they can sell quality and fresh products by keeping its shelf life longer, he said before officiating at Green Spores Agrotech’s new factory at Lorong Demak Laut 7A2, Demak Laut here yesterday.

“Gone are the days when fungus grew wild and hand picked before being sold because now producers can mass produce it.”

Naroden said companies such as Green Spores could also be a role model for keen entrepreneurs to venture into this sector.

He advocated the concept of contract farming, where farmers who have acquired the technology in a specific farming method uses it to help others who wanted to do farming on a small scale.

“This is where Green Spores can come in and assist others who are interested in mushroom farming.”

Naroden said the state government had always supported those who had foresight and were willing to take risks.

“Food security is very important and food shortages can happen any time. There is always a global demand and if we can produce quality food then people will get them from us.”

On halal food, Naroden said demand was huge and it was not only coming from Muslim countries alone, but others as well.

“The government is ever ready to assist whatever farming you want to do, be it for meat or vegetables.”

Among others, he said there was a scheme known as Rural Business Challenge (RBC), where funds of RM2 million could be made available for entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 40 years.

“In this category, if an entrepreneur can find a new technology to boost his production, there will be another type of incentive where a grant of RM500,000 will be added to it,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is going to announce the businessman who had made it on April 29.

Meanwhile, Green Spores Agrotech managing director Zulkarnain Abdul Rahim Karim, who started his oyster mushroom venture three years ago said he started with a RM50,000 capital and he and his partners had to harvest, packed and sell their mushrooms to supermarkets in the city.

“At that time, we could only sell 200 to 300 packets a day, but with funding from the government, we moved into a factory and invest in new technology. Now, we can produce 250,000 packets.”

Zulkarnain said their target was two tonnes of mushroom to meet local demand and for export in the future.

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