A plant with global potential: Moringa, the nourishing tree
The moringa tree is native to the Himalayas of India, and has become naturalized in many countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and South America. It was introduced in Latin America in 1920. In Mexico, it adapts easily to the agroecological conditions in some parts of the northern and Pacific regions. The plant’s leaves, fruit, flowers and roots are all edible.
The tree’s flavor is agreeable and the plant’s leaves and flowers can be consumed raw. The protein, vitamin and mineral content of the plant is outstanding; indeed, of the 20 amino acids that are essential for humans, moringa has 18. The leaves are especially nutritious, containing as much vitamin C as oranges, as much potassium as bananas, and about half as much calcium as milk.
Our general objective was to breed, produce, and process the primary material of the moringa tree for food production, as well as to find ideal growing regions and research its nutritional content.
We selected seeds from prime trees, and carried out a germination test, followed by breeding and the establishment of a high-density plantation. Finally, the leaves are harvested, washed, dehydrated in solar driers, ground up or made into a paste, packaged or made into capsules. The leaves are also used in creating other products such as breads and teas.
As is normally done, we began this project by doing a review of the available research on the origin of genetic material, the demand for moringa products, how the general population consumes moringa, and which regions are best suited to grow this exceptional, multi-use tree.
In addition to its nutritional content, it has been found that moringa minimizes the risk of falling ill, and can contribute to the prevention of certain chronic degenerative diseases.
In our case, we studied moringa in a global context, creating a value chain and a business plan for Mexican agriculture. Various groups participate in this scheme, such as researchers, producers, nursery keepers, food engineers, service providers, graphic designers, messengers, distributors, universities, government institutions in both project management and in research, and producer groups. In this type of agribusiness implementation, every participant provides an input into in the value chain, and everyone profits.
Finally, we can conclude that producing, processing, and innovating in the area of moringa products is beneficial for maintaining public health.