Wednesday, 29 February 2012

‘Moringa oleifera’ The wonder Agro-forestry vegetable tree in Kenya

Moringa agroforestry is increasingly being adopted by farmers in Kenya particularly in Mombasa, Kilifi, Baringo and Laikipia. This is an excellent food security solution as moringa is in full leaf by the end of dry seasons.The  plant   is easily propagated and recommended for homesteads for its food value. The leaves are nutritious vegetables, Flowers are a delicacy, eaten cooked and taste like mushrooms.Immature green pods are used like French beans and are quite popular. Mature ponds are eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. The seeds produce clear, odorless edible oil that resists rancidity. The seedcake that remains after oil extraction is used as a fertilizer or water purifier.  The roots are used as a condiment seasoning. Moringa agroforestry tree is becoming the most sought after vegetable tree due to its numerous medicinal and nutritional benefits.

Moringa oleifera originated from India and spread to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Moringa oleifera agroforestry trees are very easy to grow, and they are propagated from seeds or cuttings. They grow very fast in a wide range of soils;They perform well even in poor soils, arid and semi-arid harsh climates. Flowering occurs only 8 months after planting.
In Kenya Moringa agroforestry tree products are sold by dealers in tropical medicine, including Jomo Kenyatta University of agriculture and technology. The products are scarce and in high demand. Therefore Moringa nurseries and farm forestry are excellent business opportunities in Kenya and other African countries. Moringa agroforestry tree nursery establishment is simple. Follow the directions below for Moringa propagation:-
  • Make a soil mixture with 1:3 ratio of soil to sand.
  • Fill poly tubes with the soil sand mixture.
  • Plant 2-3 seeds per poly tube at a planting depth of about 2.5 cm.
  • Water regularly but avoid excess moisture.
  • Germination will take about 14 days.
  • Thin to leave one vigorously growing seedling in every tube.
  • Continue watering regularly to ensure enough moisture to facilitate growth.
  • Seedlings will take 4-6 months in the nursery.
  • Transplant or sell after 4-6 months when seedlings are 60-90 cm in height.