What are the Social Aspects in Mushrooms Production ?

Mushrooms production world wide is growing as one of the new practices in the agriculture fields recently. It gives small farmers an opportunity to earn an extra income by practicing a very easy production while keeping their main activity going on.

But how can you think about mushroom production as a social entrepreneur more than just a small farmer ?

Being an entrepreneur means that you are a person who tries to solve the problems existe in a society by producing a number of products and services aimed to be sold in the markets for people who manifest the need for such product/service. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to sell, and only sell to make money for more money.
Being social in a business means that your activity is not only one player part. Your clients aren’t your only hope, but the social impact is also on your priorities list. Let me explain to you this concept by giving you our activity, mushrooms production, as an exemple of social entrepreneurship.

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“Needs detection” is the first thing to do in any business. I mean, how can you sell something if there is no need for it !.. This step is the one that some entrepreneurs skip without pay it the necessary interest. These needs in social entrepreneurship may differ from classic entrepreneurship.

The needs must have a relation with a target population that will be used to make a benefit from the product/service so that product or service will be absorbed by a market. The main idea here is that your business uses people who have potential qualities, and it’s up to you to teach them the key activities for the good’s production.

Let us take a concret exemple.

Mushrooms as a food product, is produced for food markets, such as: Hotels and restaurants, fresh vegetables markets, supermarkets… .  So you may ask, do food markets really need mushrooms? My answer will be MAYBE but not 100 % !

The need here is not the markets, is actually the other side of food market: Agriculture and specially small farmers.

In the world wide, small farmers have small fields in which they practice their agriculture activity. Such surfaces don’t let them make enough production to increase their incomes or to do more then a few culture types. More tragic then that, the intensity of this cultures make their soils weak, exhausted and less fertile year after year and that make the productions getting less.

Without a satisfied purchasing power, they can’t buy fertilizers to replace the loss of their soils so  they lose their agriculture activity, therefore, they become more poor and forced to find jobs and opportunities, leaving a needed gap in agriculture.
Here, as you can see, the need behind mushrooms activity, is to make an income that doesn’t need huge fields, but just learned skills.

So, how can this activity of mushrooms help those farmers to improve their livelihoods ?

First, it doesn’t need any big fields, matter fact, those mushrooms doesn’t grow on soil, but they grow on small managed greenhouses/chambers on shelves, with a few moisture in it and moderate temperature, which is natural in the Moroccan climate. Plus, they grow on available material in any agriculture zone, like wood sawdust or straw (more likely). The profitability of this is unbelievable, like If you have a small field, and you manage just a part of it to a growing chamber, the same surface that give you only one tiny harvest of any vegetables culture can give you up to 3 times amount of mushrooms and you can have tree harvest per month !!! I mean who wouldn’t love to have such a great potential.

Here, the small farmers are actually committing to reserve their used soils for one or two years for letting it rests. At the same time, they will manage a small unites (chambers) of mushrooms production to generate incomes and bio-fertilizers to help their fields being re-established. Of course those farmers need someone who can teach them this activity and make the spawn (seed of mushrooms) production for them, and here where it comes our job as an entrepreneur to supply them with the necessary biological materials (like spawn, since it’s a complicated laboratory job, also the knowledge needed). At the end we don’t sell those supplies to them, but we work together, we give the spawn and the technology and they give the place for practice it, and both of us take a part of the sells. And this is the mean of social entrepreneurship.
At the end, food markets is just the incomes source for the business.

An exemple of spawn production made in a laboratory

This article is just an introduction in which we explain the principles of our project and step by step we will share with you our experience and our results.


Anass Ait Safar

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