Volume 19 Part 1 Article 28
Title: Investigation on Mushroom Pests and Diseases in Kenya. A Case Study of Nairobi Environs and Neighboring Counties
Author: Susan Mwai, Mary Gateri, Mary Muchane & Raul Ondiek
Mushroom cultivation in Kenya is an emerging industry, which is rapidly gaining popularity among the small scale farmers. The two main mushrooms grown for nutritional and economic value are Agaricus and Pleurotus species. Other species include Lentinula edodes and Ganoderma lucidum. However, pests and diseases are a major challenge to mushroom production in Kenya resulting to yields losses coupled with abandonment to mushroom farming. An investigation was carried out to document the pest and disease occurrence in Nairobi environs and neighboring counties.Focus of the study majored on Pleurotus and Agaricus sp. This was achieved through farm visits, a well-structured questionnaire and retrieval of information from research organization where farmers consult for disease /pest identification. The investigation captured information such as pests/ disease occurrence, stage of mushroom infestation, symptoms, possible pathogen source, and process followed during cultivation and pest /disease damage. The most common pests and diseases documented included; moulds such as green mould (Tricoderma species), brown mould and black mould, wet bubble, mites, beetles, flies, sciarid larvae ,slugs and a competitor mushroom (Coprinus sps). Disease occurrence was noted during spawn run, mycelial development, on casing soil and fruit bodies. 80% of the farmers sourced for already prepared substrate and compost a situation where due cultivation process could have been compromised. The moulds especially green mould and mites caused significant yield loss (over 50%) among the oyster and button mushroom farmers. The pest burrowed the fruit bodies of Pleurotus especially under the gills and the stipes thus lowering the quality of the mushrooms. Fruit bodies abnormalities were also noted. Limited technological knowhow coupled with poor extension services among the mushroom farmers on pest disease management, are a serious draw back to mushroom production in Kenya. Therefore thorough training on cultivation techniques pertaining to proper pasteurization of substrate and compost preparation and general hygiene should be emphasized. Proper documentation on pests and diseases affecting mushrooms should also be conducted.