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Moringa in Zimbabwe: The perfect vitamin for you and your livestock

Foto's:Pixabay

All the vitamins needed for yourself or feed for your livestock to stay healthy, are supplied by the Moringa plant. Moringa oleifera is a fastgrowing, drought-resistant tree of the family Moringaceae. It is also called the drumstick tree.

Moringa is native to areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan because it grows in warm temperatures. It is also currently on the rise in African countries such as Zimbabwe. The global Moringa market is currently $5,8 billion strong and growing at a rate of over 9% per year. According to an article on Agrinews, it is estimated to reach $10 billion by 2025.

Moringa is cheaper to grow, grows faster, and has way more uses than a tobacco plant. It is perennial and can be harvested continuously for many years. FARMVEST Agricapital secured multiyear contract agreements for production and processing of Moringa and Moringa based products in Zimbabwe earlier this year, says Agrinews’ website.

They have managed to secure two solid contracts, which will allow them to engage smallholder outgrowers to grow Moringa on their behalf, and have also managed to generate significant interest from various potential funding partners to help them launch their Moringa Outgrowers scheme. In addition to the off-take agreement in Zimbabwe, Farmvest has also sealed a deal to grow and process Moringa for a South African based manufacturer who is currently producing Moringa powder, capsules, tea and who is currently developing Moringa pellets to be used as feed supplements for livestock.

More about Moringa

A Moringa plant contains iron, vitamin C, potassium, protein, vitamin A, calcium, and amino acids. Moringa has low calories and helps people to improve concentration. All the parts of the tree, from root to stem, including leaves, bark, flowers, fruit and seeds, are used to produce medicine. The medicine makes people more energetic, healthy, and active.

Moringa is used for asthma, diabetes, obesity, symptoms of menopause, and many other conditions, but there is no scientific evidence to prove this. Some people say it also helps cure and prevent cancer. The Moringa oil is made from the seeds and used in foods, perfume, and hair care products.

Moringa is an important food source in some parts of the world because it is cheap and grows easily. The immature green pods (drumsticks) are prepared in the same way as green beans, while the seeds are removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach, and they are also dried and powdered for use as a condiment.

Foto:Pixabay

Moringa is perfect for your livestock

Moringa oleifera can also be used as a feed additive for livestock because their leaves are highly nutritious. Livestock that will eat Moringa are cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and rabbits. The leaves are palatable, digestible and contain a balanced chemical composition of proteins and minerals.

Moringa leaves for poultry, pigs and fish can be used in limited quantities. Moringa oleifera is a promising protein source for inclusion in a low-level fish diet. However, nutritional trials show that only a limited quantity of Moringa can be safely used in fish diets. Chickens that were fed Moringa showed an improvement in egg production.

The weight gain of lambs increased when cotton seed cake in their diet was replaced with Moringa leaves and lowquality hay. In dairy cattle, the feeding of Moringa leaves had a positive effect on milk production without changing the milk composition.

How to grow your own Moringa tree in your garden and when to harvest it

1. Soak the Moringa seeds in water for 24 hours.

2. Remove white covering from seeds.

3. Put seed in soil (river sand).

4. Put in a warm place and water daily while plant is still young.

5. It is important to keep the soil moist but not overly wet. You do not want to drown or rot the seeds or cuttings.

6. Keep the planting area free of weeds and rinse off any pests that you find on the growing tree using a water hose.

7. As the tree matures, trim off older branches to encourage the formation of fruits.

8. Once the Moringa tree is older, it must be watered once a week.

Moringa trees can grow up to 18 feet in less than six months, making it hard to harvest leaves and seed pods. Leaves from high density Moringa fields can be harvested after plants have grown to 1,5 to 2,0 metres tall, which usually takes at least 60 to 90 days in well-drained, fertile soils.

Harvest leaves by cutting leaf stems manually with a sharp knife 20 to 45 cm above the ground. Moringa trees will generally grow well without adding very much fertiliser. Manure or compost can be mixed with the soil used to fill the planting pits. Phosphorus can be added to encourage root development and nitrogen will encourage leaf canopy growth.

Foto:Pixabay

A Moringa tree also helps with water purification

The seed cake remaining after oil extraction is used as a fertiliser and can also be used to purify well water. In many parts of the world river water which can be highly turbid is used for drinking purposes. This turbidity is conventionally removed by treating the water with expensive chemicals, many of which are imported at great expense.

Crushed Moringa seeds clarify and purify water and lower the bacterial concentration in the water, making it safe for drinking. The Moringa powder joins with the solids in the water and sinks to the bottom. This treatment also removes 90 to 99% of the bacteria contained in water. Water from varying sources will need different quantities of Moringa seeds powder because different levels of impurities may be present in the water.

Sources:

https://miracletrees.org/moringawater-purification/

https://moringainitiative.com/benefits/

https://www.proagri.co.za/en/?s=moringa

https://www.proagri.co.za/en/moringa-goed-vir-mens-en-dier/

https://agrinews.co.zw/news/2020/04/2523farmvest-sealsmoringa-contract-eyes-globalmarket/

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