Mkulima today, several citizens both young and old are getting into farming in large numbers. This has led to a reduction of the average of a Kenyan farmer from a 65-year-old retiree. The sorry state of the economy has also driven more people to seek alternative sources of income driving folks into farming. Today we cover the moringa tree farming guide.
moringa tree farming guide
Simply known as moringa this tree is native to the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in northern India.
Its main commercial value is for use as both food and medicine.
Some people even describe it as the most nutritious terrestrial plant under the sun.
- The tree is fast-growing
- Drought resistant
- The lifespan of over 20 years
- Can grow to a height of 12 meters at maturity stage
Guide to tree planting
The moringa tree farming guide in Kenya a publication by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, KEFRI says the tree is grown and does well in a wide range of ecological zones and regions.
These zones or regions crisscross the country running from the
- Central highlands
- Rif valley
- Nyanza and
- western Kenya
It needs an altitude ranging from 0 to 2000 meters above sea level with an annual rainfall of at least 400mm to over 1400mm.
A number of organizations are supporting farmers to grow the tree in Kenya as part of food security and poverty eradication in the country.
They include the international tree foundation a nongovernmental organization registered in the United Kingdom and runs a project in Kakamega County.
It works in partnership with the Kenya Forest Services that provide extension services and the Kenya Forest Research Institute, KEFRI that provides seeds and seedlings.
A Nairobi-based value addition company has a network of hundreds of farmers in Kenya who grow the moringa tree.
The company has semi processing centers in different counties and locations such as
- Meru and
Moringa products have several functions including but not limited to beauty products, dietary supplements, and various blends of tea.
These products and then supplied to retail outlets both local and international retail outlets.
Different parts of the tree including the leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds have their own benefits, according to the world agroforestry center.
In some regions, seed pods are eaten while in others the leaves are the most consumed part of the tree. Seeds are also used for water purification.
The seeds are ground into a paste that is then poured into untreated water and given time to trap all the impurities before settling at the bottom of the pool. The clean water is then decanted carefully for use.
Once the crushed seeds are added to water, they have a magnetic force that attracts dirt particles include disease-causing organisms.
Officials of the ministry of health say that the purified water by the moringa tree seeds is effective at a rate of between 90 and 99 percent.
Other conventional water purifiers contain aluminum salt as an effective and active ingredient.
The natural coagulant in moringa seeds acts as the main active ingredient in trapping dirt and killing bacteria.
The joint research by the University of Botswana and Uppsala University in Sweden successfully removed impurities from water using moringa seeds.
Researchers have hailed the method as the method as the ultimate answer to millions in the world who struggle with access to clean water.
It is amazing to see that simple interactions between molecules can solve practical problems. Understanding this process can lead to further developments in water purification using naturally occurring and environmentally friendly materials.
According to research, moringa leaves have 25 times more iron than spinach, 10 times more vitamin A as compared to carrots. 7 times more vitamin C as compared to oranges and it gets even better with 17 times more calcium as compared to your favorite drink milk.
In ancient Thailand, the moringa tree has been used as medicine for generations for treatment and preventive measures. Some of these diseases include
- Heart diseases,
- Liver diseases,
- Respiratory issues,
- Skin conditions and
- Digestive issues.
Moringa seeds are rich in zinc and calcium which helps in strong bone and teeth formation.
The moringa seeds sell for an average of 1,500 shillings per kilo from the KEFRI offices. The seeds should be soaked in water for a period of 24 hours to soften the husks and once sowed the tree germinates in five to ten days.
Seedlings can be transplanted once grown to a high of one foot. In several private nurseries seedlings cost between 50 shillings and 100 shillings depending on the age of the tree.
Credits to Tim Wanyonyi
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