Hungary Centre: H-3396 Kerecsend, Pf. 8.
Phone: (36-36)550-500
Fax: (36-36)550-100

In Hungary there are several descriptions of successful mushroom cultivation from as early as the middle of the 19th century. This country was also among the first spawn makers in Europe. In 1926 a spawn laboratory began to work and was soon followed by two others. The excellent quality of Hungarian spawn contributed to a large extent to Hungary becoming the third in Europe - after France and England - with respect to the quantity of cultivated mushrooms by the beginning of the forties. At that time, Hungarian spawn export was important, particularly that going to Germany. The predecessor of the Korona Mushroom Union started business ten years ago and has since developed from a small enterprise into a large union containing several major firms and a number of smaller enterprises. Presently, 'Korona' Inc. is a dominant factor of the mushroom industry in Central and Eastern Europe. It has had a great role in tripling of the national mushroom production since 1990: the quantity reaches 25,000 tons in 1995. As to the output of cultivated mushrooms per capita which is 2.5 kg yearly, Hungary has practically reached the present average of Western Europe. 'Korona' covers the total range of mushroom industry which is unique in this area of Europe. The modern KORONA-LE CHAMPION SPAWN laboratory (Picture 1) has had its start recently and it employs a further developed version of the original French technology which takes into consideration the valuable heritage of the 70 years of Hungarian spawn making tradition as well. The co-operation with the world famous Le Champion firm ensures both the excellent technology and the high quality of spawns produced. This new laboratory is able to produce 2 million litres of spawn yearly in one shift. Since this quantity is larger than currently necessary in Hungary, the surplus is being exported. In 1996 'Korona' organises its 7th International Mushroom Day; while the only Hungarian mushroom growing journal, the Hungarian Mushroom Review is also edited and published by Korona Mushroom Union.

Within Korona Mushroom Union compost production the tasks of Quality Champignons Ltd. fresh horse manure and wheat straw are used as row materials. The composting procedure is carried out in two phases; exclusively Dutch machines and computer systems (Fancom) are used. This high-tech is characteristic of all the three compost centres. Picture 2 shows how compost is filled into the peak heating tunnel. The compost will be ready for growing in this special tunnel after pasteurisation and conditioning. The spawn is mixed with the compost by machine. Then the mixture is filled into plastic bags (Picture 3). Mushroom growing in bags has had a 25-year tradition in Hungary. This is a very successful and popular method whose greatest advantage is that it can be used in various places - like caves, cellars or buildings, etc. -originally built for other purposes not for mushroom growing. In one of the compost centres compost in pressed blocks is also produced by a special line (Picture 4). This method, which is more intensive than the one in bags and is particularly useful in the case of the shelf system, has been introduced in Hungary by Quality Champignons Ltd.

The 'Korona' compost centres that are located in various parts of Hungary produce altogether a maximum of 1,500 tons of spawned compost weekly. However, this maximum capacity will be increased by roughly 10 percent in the near future. Besides, a smaller capacity plant producing oyster mushroom substrate (max.100 tons weekly) is also part of Korona Mushroom Union. The compost is delivered to the satellite growers in various parts of the country with a lowered price by trucks. The number of 'Korona' satellite growers is close to 300. There are several compost customers also in the neighbouring countries. Our growing methods and system are studied particularly from developing countries. According to the demands of individual growers - as an extra possibility - supplement (imported from the USA and Holland) will be added to the compost. The success of mushroom growing is to a great extent based on the quality and thickness of the casing material. In order to be able to supply the growers with this very important basic material, a new venture has recently been started in Zala county for the purposes of having access to the best peat-bogs of the country (Picture 5) and of producing the casing material. The special peat-mixture that is suitable for direct application as casing material is produced in 80 litres closed plastic bags.

Some of the firms of 'Korona' cultivate mushrooms in large growing surfaces which has been made increasingly possible by low budget plastic growing houses (Picture 6). These special growing houses lead to a new development of mushroom growing beside growing in caves which is the dominant method now in Hungary. These plastic houses are suitable for the growing of Agaricus bisporus (Picture 7) and oyster mushrooms as well (Picture 8). The successful, simple and cheap growing technologies of 'Korona' are recommended - and also the total system is available -to foreigners interested in mushroom cultivation. Various types and sizes of processed mushrooms, for example in jars (Picture 9), are available, too. Beside the traditional 'sliced mushrooms' and 'closed caps' there is a great success particularly abroad of the two new members of the family of Korona products, one of them being 'Mushrooms in tomato sauce' and the other 'Mushroom salad in Kerecsend style'. In addition to the export of spawn and of mushroom products, that of fresh mushrooms is also of great importance due to the activity of Trans Champignon Ltd. (Budapest) of 'Korona'.

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