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2023 year for global mushroom production. UMDIS summed up results for 21 countries incl largest

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This post is also available in: English Russian Polish

Maksym Yenchenko – UMDIS Mushroom Agency` Director

Summing up 2023, UMDIS surveyed companies in mushroom industry around the world, asking what they remembered about this year. We can definitely say that the year has been difficult, and the range of difficulties is simply enormous. On a pleasant note, mushroom picking robots are already on the way, Europeans are trying to shake up the market with promotions supported by funds from the EU, and energy prices seem to have nowhere to go.

We heard about falling demand in Australia, a record decline in production volumes in the Netherlands, problems with straw in Spain, weather in Malaysia, rising prices for resources almost everywhere, and much more.

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In Ukraine, which continues its war against Russian terrorists, the mushroom business is experiencing a shortage of personnel, especially men. And due to the terrorist attack on Israel in October, the second largest Israeli farm was forced to suspend operations.

In America, the market has sank significantly, and according to a USDA report, in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the number of mushrooms sold in the United States decreased by a staggering 5%. True, they received 2% more money for them.

Unfortunately, we have no idea how much the production and consumption of mushrooms in the EU changed in 2023, but it seems that if there is an increase, it will be very modest. You can get the feeling that production and consumption are growing along with it in Poland, where they have been actively increasing capacity this year. But at the same time, according to Tom van Wijk from the Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Association (LTO), the production of mushrooms for preservation in the Netherlands decreased over the year by a crazy 40,000 tons, or more than ten percent of the total production in the country.

The European Mushroom Growers Promo Group (GEPC Promo) program, which launched this year, launches its EU co-funded 5 million euros promotion campaign entitled “European Mushrooms, the hidden gem” to promote the benefits of mushrooms around Europe, is intended to somewhat rectify the situation. According to the authors, the program should stimulate the consumption of mushrooms among the younger generation. The program has already generated hundreds of high-quality social media posts and is slowly gaining supporters.

The real race is on for the multi-million dollar mushroom picking automation pie. The four leaders promoting their solutions to automate the (so far partial) mushroom picking process are investing enormous effort and money in an attempt to get ahead of competitors – after all, in Europe and America alone, mushroom growers pay about a billion euros annually for mushroom picking and constantly have difficulty hiring and retaining workers. It seems obvious to everyone that robots, as soon as they become available and start doing a good job, will be in great demand. And in 2024, we will certainly see the development of automated collection technologies.

Happy 2024!


Australia

Leah Bramich – Relationship and General Manager at AMGA

In 2023, the economy had the most significant impact on the Australian mushroom industry. Post pandemic, the cost of mushroom production has skyrocketed, putting pressure on farms. Couple this with multiple interest rate rises this year and the cost of living increasing, Australian consumers are feeling the pressure, slowing the demand for mushrooms at a time when our growers need them to keep buying. Household purchases for fresh produce is at an all-time low in Australia, and mushrooms have been pushed out of the grocery basket for many households.

In 2024, our marketing will be focusing on building the value proposition for mushrooms, focusing on their delicious taste and unique nutritional benefits, but for growers, they will need to hold on and weather this storm. While we are hopeful things will start rectifying in 2024, it will be a tough year for many growers.


Bulgaria

Ognian Levterov – owner of BulComp Samsara compost yard

With the help of my compost yard “BulComp” we were able to convince our clients that it is necessary to invest in training about the technology of growing mushrooms. This led to better skills, results, and quality of the final product. It solved some problems that before they did not know how to fix.

Unfortunately, there are no state subsidies in Bulgaria from the government to help mushroom producers with a new farm or with making more modern already operating one. In 2023 for the first time one mushroom producer decided to invest in a farm taking a loan – but usual loan from a bank – not state aid. That is why generally there is no interest in investments and modernization of farms. But I do believe that if my clients don’t invest it means they don’t have a good future.

In Bulgaria 80% of mushrooms consumed are imported from Poland, and the remaining 20% are produced by Bulgarian farmers.


Canada

Marianne Muth – Project Coordinator Mushroom Canada

Some key themes from this year that we continue to see in the mushrooms industry include sustainability (environmental, societal, and business), as well as labour and increases in cost of production, similar to other mushroom growers from around the world.

We continue our promotion of fresh Canadian mushrooms to consumers with a focus on flavour, nutrition, ease of incorporating them into everyday meals, value proposition and sustainability.


China

Mr ZHANG Lujun – Qihe Biotech substrate supplier

China enjoys the fastest growth rate in the world’s edible fungi production industry. In 2023 particularly, types and production of exotic mushrooms cultivated in China increases again, the yield growth of certain species goes up by over 5% year on year including Lyophyllum decastes, Oudemansiella raphanipies, Pleurotus geesteranus, Boletusn sp., Dictyophora rubrum, Auricularia polytricha, Ganoderma lucidum, Agaricus blazei, Stropharia rugoso and straw mushroom.

In recent years, with the upgrade of cultivation techniques and selection of suitable selected varieties, many species that could not be artificially cultivated before are gradually broken through, such as porcini, morels, cordyceps and bamboo fungi.

In the past year, China’s edible fungi industry still operates in a traditional farmer-dominated production model with low concentration ratio. This would continue in 2024. However, with the labor shortage and rising labor costs, the degree of factorization in China’s edible fungi industry would constantly increase. The statistics from China Edible Fungi Association shows that during 2016-2020, this factorization ratio has increased from 7.15% in 2016 to 9.7% in 2020. And this proportion continues to grow in 2023.

In 2024 at least 3 modern shiitake mushroom factories are known under planning.

These companies would start global branding processes to introduce various Chinese special mushrooms to global consumers.

In conclusion, we believe that China’s mushroom industry would continue an integration process, from traditional farmer production to factory production with companies as major players. Managers would attach more importance to mechanization and intelligentization.


Columbia

Andrés Pedraza Jaramillo – owner of Mycel Group SAS

Most of the farms here in Colombia are old fashioned farms regarding to growing rooms. The technology for preparing compost is starting to make the change to open bunkers. We work on tunnels for Phase2 which were present since 90’s and no farm here is making Phase3 in bulk, so all farms no matter its size is working with Phase2 compost.

Now number of farms are making the investments to start the change to have more technological processes, starting with the materials for build the growing rooms, aluminium shelves, watering trees, pulling, and emptying winches, nets and all the basic technology to fill and emptying a growing room. One of these farms buy a blocking machine. So, Colombian farms starting to make the change from its old-fashioned growing methods to standard Dutch system, it will be slow and not depending on compost quality and knowledge to handle the compost and get its potential to have the best possible yields of fresh mushrooms.

Maybe for the next 5 years and beyond the investments to get modern farms and processes will continue, with this new technology comes the learning process, how to use this new technology and get its bigger potential. Each farm will have their own formula.


Cyprus

George Kyriakides – co-owner of Kyriakides Mushrooms

Our industry has been through very challenging times in the last few years in the world – and in Cyprus as well. Coming out of the global pandemic with its well documented challenges in 2020 and 2021, we came to face 2022, a year of high inflation. The changes in the cost structure were so rapid and so severe that every week felt like a new punch in the gut.

In 2023, challenges were still abound. However, growers were more experienced and better equipped to face them – the element of surprise was just not there anymore and addressing constant volatility became the new norm.

As we prepare for 2024 and beyond, the only thing we have to remember is that remaining complacent and stagnant will just not cut it anymore. There is a constant need to improve and evolve.

Here in Cyprus, we believe that challenges come with new opportunities – so let’s make 2024 the year of opportunity! I’d like to wish everyone in the sector a Merry Christmas and a very happy, mushroomy new year.


Germany

Marcel Minuth – RPZ Rheinische Pilz-Zentrale GmbH mushroom farm

In 2023, an important step was taken in terms of partial automation of mushroom harvesting in Germany. Further automation of harvesting technology will continue to be the biggest challenge for 2024 and the years following. However, this is essential for the mushroom industry. This will make it possible to overcome the shortage of personnel as well as the ever-increasing costs.

The goal should be to continue to be able to offer retailers a good product at an acceptable price.


Israel

Nir Yossef – The Champignon mushroom farm

For 2023 year the main thing for mushroom business is the influence of the war in Israel. For now, our farm and the compost yard are closed. Our farm has 45 rooms with different size, but we are in the North Israel very close to the border with Lebanon where it is unsafe. So, we were forced to stop.

We import compost to our small farm that we can still run because it is in another area. With import compost we do 2 rooms of 530m2 – compared to the large production we used to have.

Note my UMDIS: The Champignon farm is one of the two largest farms in Israel. The Champignon Farm was founded in 1982 by Rosa and Yitzhak Davidian as a family business in Moshav Zarit in the Western Galilee. This was part of a national effort to establish and strengthen agricultural livelihoods in settlements along Israel’s northern confrontation line. The farm before the war employed a staff of around 200 workers, most of them from neighbouring communities.

UMDIS agency is for Israel. We pray for a very soon victory of Israel and for all our soldiers and civil people survive!


Italy

Federico Magnani – Owner of Fungar mushroom farm

In 2023 I know that many farms on Italy have cobweb problem (me too!), I think that cobweb is different than 10 years ago, when cobweb arrives in your farm quickly and quickly disappeared.

Nowadays cobweb is always a problem, it doesn’t matter if is summer or winter… This problem costs us a lot of money, because of a lack of production and because we must clean double of time our rooms, cook out etc, etc… And, for now, I am not able to see a clear solution for this problem!

In 2024 the main challenge will be …picking! It sounds strange, but the new generation don’t want to make this job, also foreign people!


Japan

Jake Waalk – mushroom consulting and materials exporting company SALAI International Japan, https://salaifungi.com/

The biggest issue in Japan has been the weak yen (Japanese currency). The continuing, historical weakness of the yen has hurt mushroom farming in particular because, in a country that is almost totally dependent on imported oil for energy, this has driven electricity prices up even higher. In addition, certain varieties of mushroom grown in bottle cultivation systems, namely enoki and shimeji, use imported corncob, the price of which has risen substantially without any real corresponding inflationary change in the price of Japanese mushrooms.

A continuing goal in Japan is to ease the summer slump in sales and even lower prices by redirecting more production to stable shelf-life, processed foods and to increase consumption of mushrooms overall. Japan already has the existing facilities and infrastructure to grow much more mushrooms than it does, particularly enoki farmers, given that most enoki farmers cut their production by 50% between May and August. I also expect rapid growth of the new sector growing Auricularia varieties to continue as Japan aims to wean itself from dependence on Chinese imports.


Kazakhstan

Larissa Abusheminova – owner of Kazekofood mushroom farm

The mushroom industry in Kazakhstan is developing hardly. Production requires large and time-consuming investments, and this industry is not a priority in the country.

Today there are several small farms that grow champignon mushrooms using imported Russian compost. And, there is a large import of mushrooms from Russia and Belarus. In this regard, prices practically do not change or rise, otherwise imports will be even larger and more interesting for importers.

The goal for 2024 is for us to increase compost production and naturally increase the volume of mushroom cultivation in existing areas by increasing yields with the help of consultants. And for the entire industry, wait for the favourable conditions for investment.


Malaysia

Boey Tze Zhou – owner of Eko Agro Biotech Sdn Bhd mushroom farm

The main challenges of mushroom business in Malaysia this year are extreme weather, source of raw material and static mushroom farm price.

In 2024, I expect a lot of low productivity oyster mushroom farm will be shut down. There are few oyster mushroom farms in Malaysia are equipped with air-conditioned grow rooms, but they are not doing well due to technology and relatively cheap price of oyster mushroom.

If the farm price of oyster mushroom is able to increase to certain level, make it worth to invest into fully air-conditioned oyster mushroom farm, I believe the entire oyster mushroom market in Malaysia and Singapore will be monopoly by that farms due to consistent supply, good quality and economy of scale, and hopefully I am one of the shareholder of that company.


Montenegro

Darko Brnovic – Monte-plod DOO mushroom farm

Regarding mushroom business in Montenegro in 2023, we can say that there has been an increase in the prices of compost, casing soil, transport, and salaries, which affected the price of mushrooms. On the other hand, that did not have negative consequences on the market. Our company, as well as the other mushroom farms in Montenegro, has experienced the growth of sales in 2023. For instance, in 2022, our company produced and sold 100 tons of fresh mushrooms, and in 2023, that number is 180 tones. In 2022, we had 5 employees, and in 2023, that number is 15.

Further, the Montenegrin Ministry of Agriculture, together with EU funds, invests in the development of Montenegrin agriculture, and during 2023, our company, Monte-plod, has modernized the farm with new equipment which the process of producing mushrooms made easier and more efficient.

When we talk about expectation in 2024, we can say that we expect the continuation of the market expanding, which motivated us to plan to produce 250 tons of fresh mushrooms in 2024 and to hire 25 employees.

Montenegro is a small country with a small market, but with the migration of people from Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, continuous development of tourism, and people’s need to have a healthier diet we recognized the perfect moment to expand our business and expect new record breaks in 2024.


The Netherlands

Tom van Wijk – Chair of the Mushroom Department Group of the Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Association (LTO)

I will give you an insight in the Dutch mushroom production in 2023 and a forecast for 2024. Mushroom production in the Netherlands in 2023 has decreased with 40.000 tons. The decline mainly occurred in the production of mushrooms for the industry – not for the fresh market.

An unusually strong price increase and a weak international market for canned mushrooms are the main reasons.

No significant improvement is expected in 2024 at so far.


Poland

Krystian Szudyga – President of Polish Mushroom Association

The past year was a difficult year for us. Weather conditions, labour market, the phytosanitary conditions and the strong zloty (Polish currency) forced us to make exceptional efforts to maintain competitiveness.

Europe has come to terms with the fact that it is Poland that supplies extra volume of mushrooms to completer the volumes produced each year in many European countries locally. Our producers and traders should be commended for fulfilling these obligations professionally.

Despite fierce competition on the markets, industry organizations associated in GEPC initiated, with the support of the European Commission, a pan-European information campaign aimed at young people who are very interested in a healthy diet and at the same time determined to contribute to saving the planet. The products we offer – button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and other species of cultivated mushrooms, fit perfectly into this program.

In the future we aim a mushroom to become a mass product, and for this we require constant promotion…

What will next year bring? It will require extraordinary mobilization, especially of our technological resources. As well next year our Polish Mushroom Association will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

It’s good and it will get even better!


Romania

Puiu Ilisei – owner of Pilis Food compost yard

2023 was a difficult year in Romanian mushroom business. Many mushroom farmers quit. Main reason was low price of fresh mushroom, difficulty to sell, inflation, high price for compost and necessity to import it. We start to produce our own compost for champignons in Romania as part of circular economy – as we are also a poultry farm.

So, finally we will have a Romanian compost production, after many years of waiting.

In 2024 we want to increase compost production both for our own use and for other farmers who need it. We intend to expand the compost yard production and increase the capacity of our own mushroom farm. The consumption of fresh mushrooms has increased in Romania lately and this forces us to increase our activity – especially because from our farm we have our own raw material, poultry manure.


Spain

Jose Carlos Anguix Ibañez – Champinter compost yard and cooperative

The largest trouble for this year was a huge lack of straw mostly due to drought that affected areas of practically all Spain. Straw prices very much complicated the viability of mushroom cultivation. In Spain, straw is used as well to feed the cattle, to generation biomass for renewable energy so mushrooms needed to compete for straw. War in Ukraine, fuel, and energy prices, mainly gas, demand for straw from Middle East made the situation more complicated.

The straw situation has not changed much till now. The price for straw is three times more expensive than last season, and we are buying straw from France, because in Spain there is not enough, and we are also using two or even three years old straw. Apart from this, we are blending poppy straw, corn and rape straw to try reach the next season.


Ukraine

Yevhen Salovsky – Fungi Farm mushroom farm

The year 2023 was quite unstable for the mushroom business, as well as life in the country in general. After high yields at the beginning of the year and in the spring, from June to October, the whole country suffered from low yields, which even the high price of mushrooms could not compensate for.

One of the most difficult problems today is the lack of people. Due to the fact that thousands of people leave the country, the demand for products decreases. And it is becoming more and more difficult to provide labor for production, especially there is a shortage of men. We even have to adapt some operations that were traditionally performed by men so that they can be performed by women.

Prices for the mushroom in 2023 were pleasant, although they did not allow many to earn well – due to low yields. And the cost price has also increased – composts, electricity, fuel have become more expensive, wages have risen.

In the summer, one of the largest farms in Ukraine, which processed a large part of the products into canned goods, closed down, and now we have a stable demand for mushrooms for canning.

The prospects of the mushroom business next year are primarily related to the situation in the country in general. I wish Ukrainian mushroom growers faith in themselves and the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and good harvests.

UMDIS agency supports Ukraine and wished the country very soon victory! Let all people stay safe!


United Arab Emirates

Armen Gogyan – Eco-Fresh mushroom farm

Start of 2023 was difficult in UAE mushroom market in terms of sales and margins.

One of the local producers couldn’t survive tough competition and closed the business. However, still market is fulfilled with enough volumes of mushrooms. There is a big volume of imported mushrooms from Oman and Iran. In UAE, the most challenging part of the business is the compost cost. Nowadays, we can’t find suitable replacement in GCC.

In General, mushroom consumption is slowly increasing, residents are consuming more and more mushrooms year-by-year.

In 2024 we expect more competition in the market, as new farm is going to start operating.

Overall, margins are very tiny for mushroom producers in UAE.


United Kingdom

Tim Harker – Amycel Sales Rep, UK&Ireland

2023 has been a challenging year for the mushroom industry in UK. High inflation levels have dominated the economy with particular impact from increasing energy costs. Picking costs remain the most significant component of overall production expenditure and efforts to reduce these costs through growing techniques and mechanisation will continue to be investigated.

Agaricus production has seen a period of consolidation rather than major investment or expansion. Although the exotics market remains a small fraction of overall mushroom sales, there has been significant investment in facilities for the production of Pleurotus and Shiitake in the UK.

Composting has also been challenging with straw from the 2022 cereal harvest coming from the hottest and driest summer growing season on record.

2024 is likely to continue in the same way, with picking costs remaining a concern. The UK government announced an increase in the minimum wage by £1.02 from April 2024 which will inevitably put pressure on cost of production and selling price.

Work will continue on investigating alternatives to peat-based casing soil ahead of any potential ban on peat extraction.


United States of America

Eric Davis – spokesperson for the Mushroom Council

For December 2023 it is visible that U.S. mushroom sales were down 4.7% compared to the same period last year. Mushroom prices increased 7% versus one year ago. We are not planning for a growth in shipments in 2024 due to household budget pressures and people dining out less.

Value of sales for the 2022-2023 United States mushroom crop was $1.04 billion, up 2 percent from the previous season. The average reported price was $1.55 per pound, up 10 cents from the previous year.


UMDIS Mushroom Agency wants to tell thank you to Partners of this publication. 

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