Moringa farmers in partnership with a Nigerian firm has disclosed plans to flag off an N9billion Moringa oleifera farming plantation nationwide, for local and export purposes, and to also tackle unemployment problem in the country.
The association also plans to during the next rainy season mobilise 10 million youths across the federation to cultivate Moringa trees, and also sell the plants to meet both local and high export demand.
President of the association, Michael Ashimashiga, who made this known yesterday, during a news conference in Abuja, said the association with its membership strength of about 5,000 farmers would work to boost production of the medicinal plant in Nigeria.
Ashimashiga, while decrying that the country was yet to take full advantage of the benefits Moringa portends, said not only has its health benefits but is also economically viable. He added that “India and China have been generating times four of Nigeria’s budget using the same model of Moringa Programme I have been fighting for the cultivation, which Nigerian government is not supporting.”
He noted that Nigeria already has a ready market for the plant, saying: “Indians and Chinese and other foreign nationals are still scavenging for Moringa seeds from Nigeria for their pharmaceutical industries, which they use for their best drugs and medications production.
The President, who noted that the association would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their off-takers to support the youths, said each of the beneficiaries will be given a plot of land and Moringa seeds at no cost, to cultivate.
“Nigeria’s Moringa is one of the best in the whole world, unfortunately, it is not on the list of agricultural products, and we will keep clamouring for it to be included to help solve the problem of unemployment.
“Supporting the Moringa farmers will help everyone because we have the best Moringa in the world, our foreign off-takers have come to see it and what one hectare of moringa produces, 50 hectares of rice can’t produce,” he said.
Representative of Sai-Eden Moringa Production Co. Ltd., Anandh Reddy, agreed that Nigerian Moringa is the best in the world, as the variety is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree of the family “Moringaceae”, which makes it one of the most sought after, but unfortunately, the government has not realised this.
He disclosed that the firm would be establishing a processing factory in Abuja, both for local market consumption and export purposes, adding: “We intend to mobilise the planting of 10 billion Moringa trees such that there would be enough plant to service the factory by the time it takes off.
Reddy explained, “It (Moringa) is commonly known as drumstick tree, and used as vegetable among other things. Moringa is very useful in high-quality poultry yield among others. The economic benefit also cannot be overemphasised.”