Mushroom farming in Nepal

Mushroom is a parasitic plant that depends on other decay organic matter for their nutritional needs. Mushroom can’t make their own food by themselves. Since, Mushroom is rich in phytochemicals so that it boosts immunity power to protect against colds, flu, and other viruses when consumed by humans. It also helps to prevent many health issues like cancer, diabetes and tumors, and many more.  Mushroom also boosts health heart keeping the immune system healthy and strong.

Mushrooms are edible fungus that has health benefits. The mushroom can be grown indoors and supply to the consumers thus its commercial value has been increasing nowadays. Mushroom farming is a fast-growing sector of agriculture because of its short high return. Highly nutritious mushrooms also popularly called ‘vegetable meat’. It consists of Protein, carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber, etc with almost fat-free.

The relation with Mushroom goes many years back. In the past, wild mushrooms had been collected by some ethnic communities and accepted eating socially and culturally but nobody cultivates. In later days, with understanding the health value and benefits of mushrooms, people begin to cultivate.

Benefits of Mushroom Consumption

  1. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat content, cholesterol, and very low in sodium. Thus, become an important healthy nutritional source. 
  2. The important components available when consuming mushrooms are selenium, antioxidant minerals, calcium, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin D, copper, potassium, protein, iron, and phosphorous.

Mushroom farming in Nepal -- White Button Mushroom
White Button Mushroom

Commercially mushroom farming is still a new concept to Nepal although it was first introduced in 1974 by Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC). The first introduce mushroom species is ‘White Button Mushroom’ in 1977. Then, the Oyster mushroom was introduced in 1984 in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.  Now, there are 5000- 6000 mushroom farmers in Kathmandu alone. On average each farmer produces 10,000 kg mushrooms per day. Farmers of Pokhara and Chitwan are also increasing in producing mushroom in a significant amount. There are many mushroom cultivation farm in Nepal that produces different verity of mushrooms. Mushroom cultivation has become a milestone in the modernization of the traditional agriculture system of Nepal.

Nowadays, organic farming of mushrooms is more preferred over conventional ways of producing mushroom for producing high-quality organic mushrooms. In this modern concept of farming, the mushroom is grown under controlled conditions thus, ensures there is no any contamination during farming only using viable seeds from trusted source seeds (spawns) year around.

Commercially all together 5 species of mushroom are cultivated in Nepal currently. They are:

  • White Button Mushroom: It is the most popular among other mushrooms covering 85% of the whole portion of the production. It is highly suitable for distant farmers for marketing and processing. Production cost is a little higher while giving a better profit. 
  • Oyster Mushroom: It is most suitable in the mid-hills of Nepal. Farming of this mushroom has been expanded widely in those villages. It can be grown in small land areas thus suitable for poor landless farmers.
  • Shiitake
  • Straw Mushroom
  • Ganoderma

The production of mushrooms has grown up rapidly in the last decade. In the same way, the consumers of the mushroom have grown up reciprocally. The production of mushrooms exceeds 10,000 metric tons every year.  In Nepal, mushrooms can be grown year-round in the natural environment.
Farmers need to be well trained and give them technical knowledge about how to grow mushrooms and how to manage the mushroom farm properly following the best management system. Few organizations are providing training to farmers but still based on its huge potential the training are few in numbers and inaccessible to the farmers of suburban and rural areas where there is tremendous potential. The improper road network and infrastructure in many cases make markets far from the production sites. Thus, producers can’t receive enough benefits. Also, with the raising of mushroom farming farmers, the competition among them increases, and farmers with lower services definitely lose their portion.

Mushroom Seed Production

Production of Mushroom seeds is also in the phase of continuous growing similar to the production of mushrooms. The production of mushroom seeds is over 20 Lakhs bottles each year. 
This shows mushroom farming has greater potential in income-generational activities. Due to altitudinal variation of Nepal varies variety of mushroom can be grown in a different region which help to contribute in the socio-economic condition of people in the society.

Mushroom farming skills have become one of the best income-generating skills to economically background community if they are well trained and facilitated in farming. Mushroom is the best cash crop, that sustains farmer’s beneficiaries. Economical dependency of women would definitely reduce when women are well trained in mushroom farming thus that helps in women empowerment and women strengthen.


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