Farm and Forestry Production and Marketing profile for Moringa

USES AND PRODUCTS

Almost all parts of the moringa tree are used for food, oil, fiber, and/or medicine. In the Pacific, the most important products are pods and leaves. Young pods are consumed as a vegetable. Very young pods are fiberless, and can be cooked like string beans. Because the weight is low on very young pods, most commercial production involves larger, more fibrous pods that are used in soups, stews, and curries. The nutritious leaves are eaten in many dishes including soups, stews, and stir fries. Sauteed young leaves and flowers are also eaten. The demand for home consumption of pods and leaves can generally be met by one or two backyard trees.
Commercial production of mature seeds for oil occurs in India, Africa, and elsewhere. The press cake left over after extracting seed oil is utilized as a fertilizer and as a flocculent for water clarification. The seed cake contains positively charged compounds that are effective in settling suspended solids out of water (flocculation) because most particles have a net negative surface charge while suspended in aqueous solution. There is international interest in using moringa-based flocculants as a locally produced, biodegradable substitute for aluminum sulfate, which is commonly used to clarify water. The seed cake is normally not used as livestock feed because of the presence of antinutritional compounds in the mature seeds.
Leaves are readily eaten by cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and rabbits and can also be used as food for fish. Several studies demonstrate that significant proportions of traditional fodder can be replaced with moringa leaf. A study in Fiji reports significant weight gain over traditional fodder when 50% of fodder contained moringa (Aregheore, 2002). In Nicaragua, cattle feed consisting of 40–50% moringa leaves is mixed with molasses, sugar cane, and grass. Moringa leaf meal can be used to substitute up to 10% of dietary protein in Nile tilapia without significant reduction in growth. However, excessive feeding with moringa can reduce weight gain in livestock. Animals given fodder with 80% moringa in the Fijian study above showed lower weight gain than animals on 50% moringa fodder. Adverse effects resulting from high rates of moringa in feed are due to exLeft:
Very young pods contain little fiber and can be cooked like string beans. Right: Commercial production of moringa leaf in Kunia, O‘ahu, primarily for export to the U.S. mainland (West Coast) and Canada.

 

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Additional Info

  • Author: Ted Radovich