Socialised housing resident Nolimae grows mushrooms as a vital source of income for her family
Within urban poor communities, work opportunities are limited and underemployment is prevalent. Vegetable growing can provide a small business opportunity to generate income while increasing access to fresh produce. Mushroom growing is something that is low-maintenance and can be managed at the same time as working another job. Urban homes often have limited space, but mushroom houses require only a small area to operate. Sales of mushrooms can generate a sustainable income for the business owner.
Nolimae is a resident of the SRCC Social Housing site in Quezon City, Manila. In 2020, she began growing mushrooms as one of Dana Asia’s pilot growers. After going through training on setting up the mushroom house and caring for the mushroom bags, a 1.5m x 2m structure was constructed in her backyard. 12,000 PHP (AU$330) in capital was required for the initial house setup with capacity for 250 mushroom bags. Putting her training into practice, Nolimae was able to successfully grow mushrooms and sell them to her neighbours and wider community. In one batch of mushrooms, she is able to earn approximately PHP4,000 (AU$110) per month over the four-month production cycle. At the end of the batch, the house is cleaned out and prepared for new mushroom bags placed. For the capital to purchase the mushroom bags, Nolimae is eligible for special microfinance products offered by Grameen Pilipinas Microfinance Inc. Even once the loan is paid back, Nolimae still has profit that can be used to feed her family or put towards savings. As a result of becoming a mushroom small business owner, Nolimae has increased capacity in home gardening techniques and business management, increased household income and spending capacity which in-turn increases the amount of money circulating at community level. The community also have improved access to fresh vegetables and the used mushroom bags are good compost for other urban gardens.