Economic potentials of mushroom (Pleurotus floridanus) production among Rumuekini women group in Obio/Akpo, Rivers State, Nigeria
The study assessed economic potentials of mushroom production using farm produce waste in Obio/Akpor LGA of Rivers State, Nigeria. Specifically, socioeconomic characteristics of mushroom farmers in the LGA were identified, perception of farmers about mushroom cultivation was analyzed and cost-return analysis of mushroom cultivation was estimated. Purposive sampling technique was adopted in the selection of 32 farmers who participated in the training of mushroom cultivation in Rumuekini community was selected. Data was analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics such means, and percentage and gross margin model was used to determine profit level. The result showed that mushroom farmers were mainly women aged between 50 years and above. Gross margin analysis of mushroom cultivation showed that estimated total variable cost of production was four thousand nine hundred and fifty naira (₦4,950 .00 = 12.4 USD) per 100 substrate bags of cultivated mushroom. Estimated total revenue realized was twenty-two thousand, five hundred naira (₦22,500= 56.3 USD) per 100 substrate bags of cultivated mushroom and gross margin was seventeen thousand, five hundred and fifty naira (₦17,550=43.9 USD) per 100 substrate bags of cultivated mushroom. It was found that mushroom cultivation has the potential to improve income status of the women. Also, the materials for mushroom production could be sourced locally and farmers preferred cultivated mushroom to wildly sourced types. It is recommended that more awareness be created, and support services be given to the women in the area to encourage their participation in mushroom production. Mushroom cultivation could be extended to interested smallholder women for the purpose of augmenting nutrition, and economic empowerment.
Keywords: Mushroom, Economic, Potentials, Production, Farmers.