Jackton Onyango Otieno is a mushroom expert who has shared his expertise with various people and organizations. The production of mushrooms in Kenya is below the national demand hence it has to be imported from countries, like Rwanda.
This type of farming requires low capital yet yields high returns. Jackton has over the years trained over 200 people who have gone on to make a fortune from mushrooms.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Venturing into Mushrooms
He co-founded Eldoret Mushrooms in 1986. This was a pioneer enterprise in the mushroom business.
Since then, he has played a pivotal role in developing mushroom farms around the country.
Speaking to Qazini, he said he got introduced to the art of mushroom growing over three decades ago.
He worked as a farm hand in a mushroom farm. This experience and working on other farms across the country has made him an expert in mushroom growing.
In 2018, he helped establish a profitable mushroom business at the University of Eldoret, a project he still oversees to date.
The conditions for growing mushrooms
According to him, growing mushrooms plays a critical role in promoting food security as they are highly nutritious and can be grown efficiently and quickly.
They require very little space and can yield good returns if planted correctly. Hence, it is important for farmers to acquire proper knowledge and skills to nurture the crops.
The expert stressed on the importance of seeking out a professional before venturing into the mushroom farming.
He said preparing the substrate and temperature monitoring in the grow houses is of great importance.
The 62-year-old says that farmers are likely to experience high profitability are those who care about best practices, proper cultivation skills and market trends.
“Mushrooms are versatile and the good news is that they can grow in any part of the country. The main conditions mushrooms require to grow are: a reliable water supply, shelter and stable temperature ranging from 15 to 30 degrees. Button mushrooms are the most popular in Kenya because people like consuming them,” he was quoted by Qazini.
Jackton’s mission is to empower youths in Kenya by teaching them how to grow mushrooms, enabling them to become self employed and successful farmers.
He has collaborated with various organizations, such as the Enable Youth Kenya Program in order to reach a big audience and inculcate training to farmers.
The mushroom connoisseur, who says one can be a mushroom millionaire in just two months, says it requires very little space to produce.
One can even use a spare bedroom. He says a quarter an acre can yield 1000 kilograms. A kilogram goes for up to Sh600 Kenyan Shillings.