Malunggay Propagation Technique

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | | 3 comments »

Malunggay

Trade and Agriculture officials are hopeful that the farmer-scientist's malunggay seedlings propagation technique will be able to address the increasing demand for malunggay planting materials in the country.

Also known as "Moringa" in English, malunggay is a popular tree whose leaves are being used as part of Filipino foods for centuries. It is best known as an excellent source of nutrition and a natural energy booster.

Alicia Ilaga, outgoing Department of Agriculture (DA) director of the Biotechnology Program Office, is endorsing farmer-scientist Terso Rasco's technique to farmers engaged in the massive propagation of seedlings of malunggay, scientifically known as Moringa oleifera.

Rasco developed a rooting method using bioculture technique to propagate malung-gay seedlings, improving the conventional stem cutting technique used by most farmers in propagating malunggay.

Using his technique, farmers could easily double, if not triple, and at a much shorter time the production of planting materials which is usually done also by harvesting the mature malunggay fruits and separating the seeds from the pods from a mature malunggay tree, Ilaga said.

Malunggay used to be a mere backyard tree, although Filipinos are already fond of eating malunggay leaves, and its fruit pods, as ingredients to some favorite Filipino dishes, like 'tinolang manok', ginisang munggo, and ginataang isda. The pods are cooked together with fish in the Ilocos Region.

Since the DA-BPO embarked on a massive information, education and communication about the nutritional value of malunggay, its economic importance was also highlighted.

The moringa seeds are now being eyed for the production of all-purpose oil, while the leaves are not only sold in the market, but are processed as well.

A number of farmers have since started planting malunggay, but the big demand for both the seeds and leaves of malunggay, requires more planting materials. The production of planting materials has become a stumbling block, as there are not enough nurseries to produce the number of seedlings needed to meet the demand, even of a single local investor who has challenged the DA to produce the seeds, as well as leaves, to meet the big market demand abroad.

Another way of producing planting materials is by chopping down a malunggay tree, chopping its trunk or branches, about a feet or 12 inches long. When planted, grows roots and produce new branches. This process, however, results in high mortality of the planting materials.

Harvesting the seeds from the malunggay fruit takes some time, while stem cuttings easily die when planted.

Rasco observed that malunggay has the ability to regrow a branch, or even roots, when cut or chopped down.

"By simply chopping a branch of malunggay and planting it like a malunggay seed, a new malunggay seedling can be grown," Rasco said. "You just have to prepare a good seed bed for the chopped malunggay branch to grow new seedlings," he said.

"This is what we need to produce enough number of planting materials for the commercial cultivation of this miracle tree," Ilaga said.

3 comments

  1. Ish // January 14, 2010 at 11:06 PM  

    Nice tips about Malunggay I hope everyone plant malunggay in there backyard, because malunggay is a rich health food.

    Health Assistant

  2. David DeWall // January 15, 2010 at 8:19 PM  

    We have this tree in our yard in the Philippines, and my wife does eat the leaves, says they are very healthy. Haven't tried it yet, but if it is healthy, I am sure my asawa will be having me eat some.

  3. Ruby Red // January 18, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

    Are there any other places in the world where malunggay grows?

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