The world is his oyster for this mushroom farmer

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

PONTIAN: He was once a government officer reaching out to the community via social economic programmes including setting up cooperatives and helping the Orang Asli come up with eco-tourism products to uplift their livelihood.

But then Muhamad Saidan Sanib, 35, decided to get his “hands dirty” by venturing into mushroom farming.

So, two years ago, he quit his job in Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) where he had worked for 10 years.

These days, he runs a small mushroom farm on a plot of land in his family home in Kg Parit Selangor here.

Muhamad Saidan observed that mushroom farming was getting popular especially among locals who lost their jobs in Singapore amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“But mushroom farming requires a lot of dedication,” he cautioned.

He spoke of having to wake up as early as 4am to harvest the mushrooms so that they could be sent fresh to the markets and shops daily.

“Everyday, my farm produces about 20kg to 30kg of fresh oyster mushrooms,” he said.

Both his mushroom houses can accommodate up to 20,000 containers to grow the mushrooms.

Muhamad Saidan said that 1kg could be sold for about RM15 to RM18 wholesale price.

Besides oyster mushrooms, he also cultivates a special Kukur Mushroom variety, which sells for as much as RM65 per kg.

“This mushroom species is only cultivated when there are special orders usually at least once a month,” he said.

Muhamad Saidan said that he started mushroom farming about several years ago after his brother got into it in 2014.

To help with the farming, he hired several students to work part-time.

“They help me fill up the containers which are used to grow the mushrooms in my two mushroom houses,” he said, adding that each container takes about 45 to 100 days before the mushrooms could be harvested.

He said that mushrooms in southern states like Johor were expensive as the raw material to fill up the containers to cultivate them were difficult to get, especially rubber wood dust.

Besides the dust, he also adds rice husks and lime along with the mushroom seeds for them to germinate.

As for those seeking to get into mushroom farming, he said that they could set it up in a room in their own home.

“Just make sure the place is a bit damp to promote the growth of the mushrooms,” he said, adding that he plans to organise courses or talks to get people interested in mushroom farming.

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