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Shiitake mushrooms, new business opportunity

Shiitake mushroom belongs to the category of edible medicinal mushrooms, with the Asian Continent origins as forest grown mushrooms.

The Eastern cultures have been using it as nutrient for centuries, but also as the cure.Recently, shiitake mushrooms have become more popular in the Western countries.

It contains huge amount of nutritive and medicinal values.

Shiitake mushroom contains plenty of minerals, amino acids and vegetative fibers.

It reduces cholesterol, increases resistance to viruses, and the extract has anti-cancerous properties.

Mushroom can be grown in wooden cylinders of different forest sorts (oak, beech, birch, domestic chestnut and poplar).

Yet, the production organized in the intended facilities is exceptionally profitable and may serve as a model of self-employment.

Production is rather demanding, and requires lots of efforts, spirit and aspiration.

Shiitake mushrooms production process itself progresses in several stages i.e. preparation of sawdust – substrate, sterilization and inoculation of sacks with seeds; process of growing and “shocking”; and gathering of mushrooms.

Substrate growing process has three phases (incubation, development and bearing). Each mentioned stage requires certain conditions, with reference to the room temperature, humidity and light, all these factors significantly affecting the yield. Particular attention is drawn to the substrate sterilization process, as any failure in this phase causes disease and loss of sacks.

Protective clothing (coat, gloves, and mask) must be used while doing inoculation, as this is the most sensitive stage of production and minimum requirements of sterilization must be obeyed.

All rooms should be cleaned regularly in order to prevent parasite entering.

The whole process, from planting to gathering lasts up to three months.

Mushrooms are placed in the market as fresh and seasoned.

Active substances of shiitake can be encapsulated and distributed in the market in that form, thus accentuating it’s medicinal properties.

Development opportunity in the area of mushroom collection and production, as a model of self-employment, was recognized by the Association “Something more” from Mostar, by holding up a series of educational courses on collection, production and processing of mushrooms within the project “Support to agriculture development in Hercegovina”  financed by USAID.