The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) says that Finland could develop a lucrative business exporting matsutake or pine mushrooms to Japan, but that there is a shortage of pickers.
The wild fungi are an expensive delicacy in Japan, which has to import most of what is sold there. So far most are imported from Korea and Canada.
The Metla Research Unit in Parkano, south-western Finland, has been studying the growth patterns and export potential of matsutake for two years.
Metla says that this year's crop of pine mushrooms is excellent, especially in Finnish Lapland, and that the preliminary experiments in exporting the fungi have been encouraging.
It says hundreds of people could be trained to collect pine mushrooms, which must be done very carefully. Japan only imports perfect specimens.
For about 20 years, wild porcini or bolete mushrooms have been successfully exported from eastern Finland to Italy, where they, too, are a prized delicacy.