Impact of Marketing Tactics on the Performance of Oyster Mushroom Cultivation among Small-Scale Farmers: A Study in Mumias Division, Mumias Sub-County, Kenya
Andrew, O. Nyakundi
Faculty of Business and Management Kampala international University-Western Campus, Uganda
Mushrooms, as macro-fungi capable of thriving above and below ground, are a rich source of nutrients and can be successfully cultivated within well-ventilated structures using organic substrates. China is the global leader in Oyster mushroom production, accounting for 80% of the total output, with Africa contributing relatively little. In Kenya, two mushroom species are grown: Button and Oyster, with a combined annual production of 500 tons and an additional 150 tons imported. Button mushrooms dominate production at 95%, while Oyster mushrooms represent only 5% of the total output. Among farmers, the majority (80%) focus on cultivating Oyster mushrooms, while the remaining 20% prefer Button mushrooms. Despite the availability of suitable substrates and the preference of growers, the performance of Oyster mushroom cultivation has remained suboptimal. Consequently, the impact of marketing strategies on Oyster mushroom performance has remained uncertain. This study aimed to investigate the influence of marketing strategies employed by farmers. The research was grounded in Innovation theory and guided by a conceptual framework. A descriptive research design was adopted, with a study population of 300 individuals, and a random sample of 30 respondents was selected using cluster random sampling. Data were collected through questionnaires and interview guides and analyzed using SPSS. The results revealed that 56.7% of the farmers sold mushrooms in rural open markets, while 43.3% supplied their produce to hotels and restaurants. Furthermore, 53.3% of farmers engaged in personal selling, whereas 46.7% relied on vendors for distribution. In terms of sales, 76.7% marketed mushrooms through their respective groups, while 6.7% used retailers. Regarding packaging, 96.7% of farmers utilized polythene bags, with a small proportion (3.3%) opting for bottles. On pricing, 70% sold 50gm packages for Ksh 100, while the remaining 30% offered 1kg packages priced at Kshs 2000. A significant majority (83.3%) of farmers sold processed mushrooms, while 16.7% focused on fresh mushrooms. In conclusion, the study found that existing marketing strategies had a limited impact on the performance of Oyster mushroom cultivation. The study recommends intensive training, the development of incentive schemes, the construction of cold storage facilities, and the formation of mushroom cooperatives to enhance the industry’s performance. The findings of this research have implications for policymakers, mushroom growers, scholars, and researchers in the field.
Keywords: Mushroom, Oyster, production, marketing strategy
Mushroom is a macrofungus which has a distinctive fruiting body and can be found growing on the ground or underground . For mushroom to grow well it requires an organic substrate, rich in nutrients especially Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium [2, 3]. The edible, medicinal and wild mushrooms make up the composition of worldwide mushroom industry . Mushrooms are classified under fungi kingdom and have evolved from algae. They cannot synthesize their own organic material . There are in existence over 64,000 species which have been documented . The existing literature show that 10,000 species can produce mushrooms, approximately 300 belong to edible category and only 30 species are cultivated . Africa could be hosting numerous s species because of conducive environment, however, many could have disappeared much early before science had an opportunity to describe them . Production of mushroom in the global arena, China is the leading with more than 80% of all Oyster (Pleurotus spp) produced while Africa is grappling with low production . , reported that mushroom production in Africa only few cases are mentioned and rarely appears on publications. Therefore, Peter concludes that mushroom as an enterprise has been ignored, neglected and marginalized in Africa. Since production is low and consumption demand is high, this scenario creates huge opportunity for mushroom cultivation in Africa not only at subsistence level but at commercial scale to spur economic development . , reported that mushroom has a high value with potential to catalyze economic development of a country. In Kenya, mushroom has been identified as one of high value crops which can be grown alongside with others ,unfortunately only two varieties or species of mushrooms have been cultivated: Button (Agaricus bisporus) and Oyster (Pleurotus ssp) and their production is also low . The country is encountering constrains of realizing income growth in rural economy where many people live . The average mushroom production annually is 500 metric tons while importation is 150 metric which implies that consumption demand is about 650 metric tons annually . , in their report showed that in 2017 mushroom production was 484.5 metric tons and consumption demand was 1200 metric tons. This implies that consumption outstripped supply at a wide pace, setting a gloom situation whether food security will be achieved and posing negative threat on achievement of worldwide Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) particular on, ‘No poverty and Zero hunger goals’, by 2030 . Marketing of mushrooms has faced challenges in various countries. In India Marketing system has not been organized well, although a simple system has been adopted of producers selling directly to consumers or retailers and no serious effort has been put in place to promote the product, strengthen and expand the market . Production of Oyster mushroom in Kenya raises many questions on what is actually happening with the variety. Majority of farmers are growing Oyster mushroom because of adaptability in that it grows on almost all agricultural wastes . ,in their research reported that 80% of mushroom producers grow Oyster mushroom(Pleurotus stratus) while 20% grow button(Agaricus bisporus).This report implies that the annual production of mushroom of 500 metric tons ,Oyster mushroom contributes 5% (24 metric tons) while the contribution of button mushroom is 95%(476 metric tons). Marketing strategies if crafted and executed well can be a good vehicle in improving yield performance of Oyster mushroom and wealth creation for soleprenuers. Some of the challenges faced in selling mushroom product include lack and inaccessibility of market information, poor infrastructure, high product prices and lack of entrepreneurial skills in marketing strategies .
The study concluded that there has been little effect of marketing strategies on performance of oyster mushroom for smallholder farmers. Generally, the generic marketing strategies such as product strategy, price strategy, place strategy and promotion strategy are seldom applied in marketing of mushroom products. The mushroom products are not branded, use of polythene bags and bottles as packaging materials rarely attract consumers. However, processed products have added value to mushroom products. Distribution channels adopted such as personal selling, retailers, groceries and own group have had minimal effect. Also promotion of mushroom products has not been emphasized.
The study recommended the following:
i) Intensive training on marketing mix strategy
The growers require skills on product strategy, price strategy, place strategy and promotion strategy. The training can be organized by County Government of Kakamega, Kenya
ii) Development of incentive schemes
The incentive schemes such as awards, bonuses will encourage mushroom growers to increase production and also improve on creatively in order to develop new market strategies.
iii) Construction of cold storage facility for fresh mushrooms
Mushroom is highly perishable product ,therefore shelf-life can be increased if cold rooms are constructed for fresh or unprocessed mushrooms for preservation of quality and other inherent characteristics.
iv) Formation of Mushroom Cooperatives for sale
The functions of mushroom cooperatives will include:
- Creation of refrigerated transport facility
- Creation of processing facility
- Creation of distributor channel
- Selling on economies of scale
- Branding, designing and selection of package materials
v) Formulation of mushroom pricing policy by the Government
The Government to start looking at mushroom industry as a going concern which require policy framework to protect mushroom growers just like Coffee and Tea industries.
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CITE AS: Andrew, O. Nyakundi (2023). Impact of Marketing Tactics on the Performance of Oyster Mushroom Cultivation among Small-Scale Farmers: A Study in Mumias Division, Mumias Sub-County, Kenya. INOSR ARTS AND HUMANITIES 9(2):17-25. https://doi.org/10.59298/INOSRAH/2023/2.3.4000