SHAPE International is using the Moringa tree to supply new business opportunities to people in Burundi. The leaves can be harvested and dried to be used as a nutritional supplement. The seeds have a variety of uses including the provision of oil that burns clean and is environmentally sustainable. Researches have recently discovered that the crushed seeds are effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus and E. coli. One of the most amazing properties is the seeds ability to purify water though some additional steps may be required to insure optimum clarity. This article will give you practical knowledge of how the Moringa tree is grown.
To see how SHAPE is using Moringa to change lives and how you can help, read more - http://www.shapeinternational.org/2013/07/14/making-a-difference-one-moringa-seed-at-a-time/
The two most used varieties are Moringa oleifera and Moringa stenopetala. They can be grown from seeds or cuttings. The seeds can be soaked beforehand if desired, but this step in not necessary. The tree is a fast grower reaching over 20 ft. (6 meters) tall in the first year! The branches can grow 3 – 4 ft. (1 meter) wide in the first year. They can grow even in poor soils which make it a perfect tree to grow in developing countries where people may only have access to marginal soils.
The photo above is a Moringa nursery SHAPE helped start in Haiti and below is a nursery we started in Burundi. Moringa is considered a tropical tree. Each year after the trees have stopped producing fruit, they should be cut back to allow for new young leaves and bushier growth. Pruning makes harvesting easier since the trees get so tall that a ladder is required for harvesting on unpruned trees. The seeds sprout best in temperatures of 70 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 – 32 C). Within 2 weeks they should be off to a good start. When the taproot is 4 inches (10 cm) long, then they can be transplanted. Moringa can be grown in the U.S. as well, but it will die during a freeze. You can grow the trees in pots or in a greenhouse to insure survival in colder climates.
Jean Marie Nibizi of SHINE (left) and John Mann of SHAPE look at Moringa seedlings on the Jatropha Test Plantation (JTP) in Burundi. John will be checking the progress of the Moringa during his trip to Burundi in August, 2013. There will be many more articles to come upon his return!