Friday, June 9, 2017
How a farmer makes millions from Moringa farming.
How a farmer makes millions from Moringa farming. When sukuma wiki (collard green), maize and tomatoes failed to do well in her farm in Taita Taveta County, Beatrice Nguru turned to moringa, a crop she knew little about. She started growing moringa after being trained in 2006 by the Danish International Development Authority and learning about moringa was an eye-opener for her. Nguru is reaping the benefits of moringa, a crop that she describes as a wonder because it has offered her more than she expected.She started with 80 moringa seedlings in her backyard, and after seeing them do well, she planted more trees on her 10 acres in Ronge, Taita-Taveta. Moringa takes six to eight months to mature. It is fast-growing, drought-resistant and the tree remains evergreen with exceptionally nutritious leaves, pods and roots.Every part is valuable from the root of the plant to the leaf. Spacing the trees during planting depends on the objective of cultivating the crop, to produce and harvest moringa seeds and leaves, space the trees 2m by 2m. The production for leafy powder, the space should be 0.5m by 1m, for production of leafy vegetables, space the trees a foot apart to make it possible to harvest the young edible shoots every two to three weeks. Moringa tree takes six to eight months to mature and has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years.During the rainy season, she harvests on weekly basis while in dry spell, she harvests after two weeks. Moringa leaves provide alternative vegetables for human consumption,as they taste like spinach and their young, tender and green pods are eaten as beans. Its flowers can further be used as a natural pesticide. Moringa tree is also capable of producing high quality fodder during the dry season. The leaves are readily eaten by cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits. She mixes fodder that she offers her two Friesian cows with moringa leaves to increase milk production and make it creamy without affecting its taste, smell and colour. She also feeds her 105 kienyeji chickens moringa seeds enabling some to lay double-yolked eggs. She also processes moringa leaves into powder and packs in plastic tins of various sizes. She harvests the leaves, wash and dry on a mesh in a well-ventilated room for three days. She grinds the dried leaves using a machine into fine powder before packing into 50, 100 and 500g tins. The 50g goes for Sh150, 100g for Sh300 and 500g for Sh720, making between Sh50,000 and Sh60,000 from the products per month. source