Français

Script 71.3

Notes to broadcasters

Save and edit this resource as a Word document.

The moringa tree (Moringa spp.) is being promoted across Africa as a fast-growing, multi-purpose tree, providing food, fuel and fodder, that will grow in semi-arid and drought prone areas. The leaves are high in nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C, and therefore can make a significant contribution to nutritionally poor diets. Advise farmers to seek help from people with experience before they start moringa cultivation.

Moringa is also known as the drumstick, horseradish, or benzolive tree. A list of names for the Moringa tree in many African languages can be found on page 4 of the script. Be sure to use the local name for the tree, in addition to calling it Moringa, when you broadcast this script.

For more information about growing moringa, see Number 4 in this package, Grow moringa for food and fodder, or contact the following organizations:

Michael Opapa Ongonga
Moringa Research Agency
Farmers Training Center
PO Box 40300, Kenya
ongongamoringa@racham.westernet.co.ke

ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization)
27492 Durrance Road
North Fort Myers, Florida USA 33917
Email: echo@echonet.org www.echonet.org

Script

Host 1 (Intro):
We’ve talked before on this program about multi-purpose trees – trees that have many uses and benefits for farmers. Today we’re going to feature one tree in particular that is more and more popular among African farmers.

Host 2:
Actually, this tree is grown in countries throughout the world, and here’s why. Let’s say that you want to restore nutrients to your land by planting trees. Your idea is to plant several kinds of trees – each with a different use. For example, you might want a tree that will grow quickly – to reforest the area as quickly as possible. But, if you have livestock, you might also want a tree that provides fodder. And maybe one other kind of tree that provides food for your family. Which trees would you choose?

Host 1:
Well this may surprise listeners, but I would choose just one tree. Because I know it’s possible to get all of these gifts from just one tree.

Host 2:
My friend, you must be talking about the moringa tree!

Host 1:
Yes, I am. And growing moringa will be our topic of discussion for today. Stay tuned for fascinating facts about moringa!

MUSICAL BREAK (5 seconds)

Host 2:
The moringa tree – the tree we’re talking about today – is a tree that’s becoming more and more popular in African countries. As I mentioned, it’s also grown in other countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Europe.

Host 1:
And it’s easy to understand why – it has so many uses – and benefits.

Host 2:
Yes. To start, it grows very quickly! It provides nutritious food for people, fodder for livestock, and the seeds can even be used to clean dirty water.

Host 1:
Hopefully we’ve got your interest now, and at this point I think we should say a few things about how to grow moringa.

Host 2:
Well, you can plant moringa from seeds or branch cuttings. As always, look for quality seeds. And when you’re selecting seed, keep in mind that some varieties of moringa are native to Africa, and some are not.

Host 1:
The easiest way to start moringa is from branch cuttings. You’ll notice that even moringa branches that are used as fence posts often take root and grow into full-sized trees. If possible, find out which trees bear the largest number of pods and the best-tasting ones. Then take cuttings from those trees.

Host 2:
Remember it’s always better to take cuttings from several different trees rather than just one. This way, if a disease or pest strikes, some of your trees will have a better chance of surviving.

Host 1:
One of the best things about moringa, as we mentioned earlier, is that you will see results very fast. The tree can grow up to four metres high – in just one year.

Host 2:
Once the tree is mature, you will want to harvest the leaves and pods. To make harvesting easier, it’s a good idea to prune the tree so that the branches stay close to the ground. When the main stem of the tree reaches chest height, cut it back with a sharp knife. New shoots will grow from below the cut. This makes the leaves and pods easier to harvest.

Host 1:
And, as new branches grow, you can also cut them back to make the tree bushier.

Host 2:
In some places people cook the leaves and pods as vegetables. And believe me, the leaves are very nutritious. They provide several vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Host 1:
That’s right. Moringa leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron and protein. We have talked before about the importance of these vitamins and minerals in a healthy diet – especially vitamin A, which helps to prevent childhood illnesses, like night blindness, diarrhea and measles.

Host 2:
Some people are experimenting with the use of ground moringa leaves as a nutritional supplement. They grind up the leaves, and add them to a meal – to make the meal more nutritious. So there’s a lot of experimenting going on with this tree.

Host 1:
You mentioned that you can also eat the pods.

Host 2:
That’s right. The pods are not as nutritious as the leaves, but you can still eat the soft flesh and seeds from the inside. Pick the pods when they are plump and firm, but still tender. Cut them into short pieces and steam them lightly before eating the flesh and seeds.

Host 1:
The leaves and pods also have medicinal uses. And the seeds can be used to make oil. The bark can be used to make ropes and mats…

Host 2:
And we haven’t even talked about how you can use seeds from moringa to clean water.

Host 1:
That’s right. A powder from the moringa seeds can be used to clean and clear muddy water. But unfortunately, we’re almost out of time. We’ll talk about how to do that on another program.

Host 2:
If you are interested in growing moringa, contact an agricultural extension worker, or this radio station. We can let you know where to get seeds, and more information about growing the fast-growing, multi-purpose moringa tree.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • Researched by Victoria Fenner, Hamilton, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Jeffrey Faus, Moringa Programs Director, Trees for Life.

Information Sources