This MBA mushroom farmer earns Rs5 lakh a month from just a 1400 sq ft unit

Manish Yadav started mushroom farming in a 15ft X 15ft room on a trial basis in Delhi and earned Rs 2.5 lakh from that crop in two months. He now sells 40,000 kg of button mushroom annually and the price goes up to Rs450 per kg during summer

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Manish Yadav at his mushroom farm in South West Delhi

Manish Yadav at his mushroom farm in South West Delhi

After completing his MBA, when Manish Yadav was preparing for the civil services examination, COVID-19 struck and his life changed following the lockdown. Confined within the house, he thought of working on his friend’s suggestion of mushroom cultivation. “My friend was already growing button mushrooms and suggested that I should also try it since there seemed no possibility of getting a job anytime soon,” recalls Manish, whose family cultivates vegetables and grains in Kangan Heri village in South West Delhi. 

“The reason I went ahead with my friend’s suggestion was that we live in Delhi, just about 40 km from Azadpur Mandi. With my MBA knowledge, I was sure that marketing and logistics would not be a problem for selling mushrooms,” he says. 

Azadpur Mandi is Asia’s largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables. Farmers from across India bring around 5,000 trucks of fruits and vegetables daily for sale in the market.

Also Read: How two brothers in Agra earn Rs2 lakh daily from mushroom farming

Space, seeds, and compost for mushroom farming

Manish already had the basic knowledge about mushroom cultivation through his friend. “I decided to experiment in a room in our old house. I procured 50 kg of mushroom spawns (seeds) from a seller in Sonipat who has a spawn lab. They cost me around Rs 90 per kg (Rs4500 in all for seeds),” says Manish, now 29.

A room of 500 sq ft can hold 1200 to 1300 bags of mushroom. Pic: Shri Shyam Mushroom Farm

He also bought around 5,000 kg of compost, which cost Rs 8 per kg at that time, investing Rs 40,000. “I put up 500 bags and two beds with mushroom spawns in a 15ft X 15 ft room.  The result was good and I harvested 1,000 kg of mushrooms from 500 bags,” he says.

Mushroom prices fluctuate between Rs100 and Rs450 per kg depending on the season and demand. During winters, when the market is flooded with button mushrooms, the prices go down to Rs 100 per kg while they touch Rs450 during summers.

“I sold the first batch at Rs250 per kg, making Rs 2.5 lakh with an investment of Rs 45,000. I decided to become an agripreneur instead of taking up conventional farming like my family,” says Manish, who also took training in mushroom farming from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Ujwa in Delhi. 

Also Read: How this Gwalior professor became a successful mushroom entrepreneur

One kg of mushroom seeds can be used in ten compost bags. So each mushroom bag contains around 100gm of spawns or seeds and 10 kg of compost. Each bag produces 2 kg of mushrooms after two to 2.5 months.

The India mushroom market size was 258.6 million dollars in 2023 and is expected to reach 466.8 million dollars by 2032, according to research firm IMARC Group.

This growth is led by increasing health consciousness among consumers and the rising demand for nutrient-rich, cholesterol-free foods. Additionally, the growing trend of veganism and the widespread use of mushrooms as a meat substitute due to their rich umami flavour are also contributing to the market's expansion in the country. 

cost and profit in mushroom farming
Costs, revenues and profit in button mushroom farming. Pic: 30Stades

From trial to profitable agribusiness

Manish expanded his trial and named his unit Shri Shyam Mushroom Farm. He now earns Rs 60 lakh annually from just a 1470 sq ft area. 

“I grow mushrooms in three rooms – each of 14 ft X 35 ft. The height of each room is 14 feet. A room of around 500 sq ft can hold 1200 to 1300 mushroom bags stacked on wooden racks,” he explains.

Since each bag gives 2 kg mushroom, the production is 2600 kg from a 500 sq ft room in one cycle. “Farmers can harvest five times a year as one crop is ready in around two to 2.5 months. So the annual production from 500 sq ft is 13,000 kg,” Manish explains.

With three rooms, his annual mushroom production is around 40,000 kg. “I sold button mushroom at Rs450 per kg last month but there is a glut in the market during winters. We can take the average annual price at Rs150 per kg,” he explains. 

Also Read: Shifting from cotton to mushroom farming increases Haryana farmer’s profit ten times

Farmers in India grow many varieties of mushrooms, including Button, Oyster and Shiitake. Mushrooms can be cultivated using two methods – seasonally or throughout the year in cold chambers. Manish uses cold chambers for  mushroom farming though this method is yet to become popular in India.

Maximum utilization of space in mushroom farming can keep costs low. Pic: Shri Shyam Mushroom Farm

“This method gives yield around the year due to controlled environment parameters like temperature and humidity. Moreover, there is very little chance of contamination,” he points out. 

With electricity, composting and staff salaries, the cost of production per bag at Shri Shyam Mushroom Farm is Rs 130 (Rs 65 per kg as one bag gives 2kg of mushroom). This leaves a profit of Rs85 per kg and Rs 34 lakh annually. 

Manish continues to procure spawns and compost from the Sonipat supplier rather than producing them in-house. “It allows me to focus on production. I have hired four people to harvest and package mushrooms, sold in the Azadpur Mandi,” he adds.

Also Read: Jaipur’s MBA dropout succeeds with mushroom seeds business; earns Rs13 lakh monthly revenues

For cultivation, the compost is placed in polythene bags with two or three holes for aeration. "Each bag contains at least 10 kg of compost mix, and they are stacked on racks in the cold chamber," the mushroom entrepreneur says.

In 12 days, mushroom fungus mycelium spreads throughout the bags. During this period, the chamber's temperature is maintained at 23 to 24 degrees Celsius. "The bags are then opened, and a casing is applied using coco peat (natural fibre particles made from coconut husks that hold water) and gypsum," he says. The casing, a top dressing applied to the spawn-run compost to regulate evaporation, is about 1.5 to 2 inches thick, providing a surface for the mushrooms to grow. 

“Mushrooms are ready in 21 days after casing. They are then harvested and packed for sale,” Manish adds.

(Rashmi Pratap is a Mumbai-based journalist specialising in business, financial, and socio-economic reporting)

Also Read: How this Odisha man became a mushroom millionaire with Rs 36 investment; has trained over 10 lakh people

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