ECHOcommunity Conversations

Commercial Moringa,

Hello Community,

I have been tasked with the job of turning 15 acres of land owned by a theological college in Myanmar into a diverse, highly profitable and productive, ecologically and environmentally friendly unit to help support the cost of running the college and make them less reliant on outside donors to cover the shortfall that the students can’t cover with their fees. (Typically, the students coming here are poorer that you average Myanmar citizen)
I know there is a demand for Moringa in the West and see this as one of the possibilities that I could cultivate and process for income generation.
Is there an already established marketing avenue for processed moringa out of South East Asia, and if so, what do I need to do to tap into that, rather than try and re-invent the wheel?
thanks in advance
Wayne

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Hi Wayne,
I know a group who set up moringa production in the Philippines. they were prodcuing it in capsules and were selling locally and in the US including online. Very quickly production exceeded demand and they had difficulty selling all they were producing. You should make usre you have a guaranteed market first. NIche markets very quickly get over supplied.

I don’t know how much experience etc you have, so feel free to ignore the following. People often talk about going for export markets, but it can be tricky meeting all the regulations and also being able to have a steady supply. Needs plenty of capital. Also you are at the vagires of international ecomomics etc. Recession in the west can mean the end of your market and it can happen very suddenley.

Particularly as you are starting, my own recommendation would be to look at local and in country markets, what can you grow that there is a ready market for? Better to grow a few different things too to spread the risk. Start with the reliable ones and try other things as you get to know the farm, market etc.

What is your labour availability, what local technical knowledge is there? Subject to the limitations of seasons, with short term/annual crops I try to plant what others are not - if they plant corn, I go for cassava and vice versa. Usually this way you can hit the market when prices are higher, but it doesn’t always work.

Blessings in your endeavour.
Eric

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Hi Eric,

Really appreciate your feedback and the cautionary note. Perhaps we’ll just use the moringa as goat food in the short term. I’m not certain there is a great local market for it - it’s one of those trees that most people seem to have one of, or access to one.

I haven’t had any experience dealing with the export market, but am dealing with a guy who is going full steam developing export markets for sacha inchi, elephant foot yam, coffee and macadamias. I’m trying to focus on perennial crops, rather than annuals, and am still getting a feel for what grows well here and what doesn’t.

Labour ? I can get my hands on half a dozen casuals easily enough and probably more if I give it some effort.

Local Tech knowledge ? Ministry of Ag, plus a few self employed agronomists with good backgrounds, and local knowledge from staff

Diversification ? Have planted sacha inchi, elephant foot yam, bananas, lychees plus a variety of other (human and livestock) food producing trees. Also we will produce fish, goat meat and milk, ducks, chickens (eggs and meat)

cheers

Wayne

I recently discovered this article on using moringa as pig feed. They found that it takes around thirty trees to support the fodder for one pig and that the pigs could be raised on a diet of 100% moringa.

hello, forgive me i am new to echo, joined just to reply to this sort of. i have been finding all info i can on this subject. moringa for feed swine in particular at this time maybe cows latter.
yes i have seen the info on paul ronkthanks much for mention of that,
guess am asking if you know of any more info on this. at this time i am focused on starting to plant moringa we have small land, and small ( back yard ) piggery but hope i can plant 3 to 5000.perhaps a mix of moringa and madre de agua.
i would love to find info on the nutrition of the small branches as i see some will shred the small branch also for swine food .
there seems to be conflicting info on antinutrients in moringa some say no problem some say other wise ?
my plan is the moringa, sweet potatoes fermented. perhaps some madre de gua, looking at duckweed and kang kong or water spinach
i am trying to come up with money for starting large size composting worm and will consider worm meal also as food for the pigs at some point if more protein is needed
any info on that stuff is welcome
sorry if i do not use this site in the proper way i am new at this

Hi Dennis,

Great questions! Here’s a link to a post I wrote a while ago when I dug into some of the anti-nutrient literature out there on Moringa. You can also read the discussion on Dr. Mark Olson’s page which is a great overview.

Some nutritional information on moringa can be found in ECHO’s Research Note 1 or on Feedipedia (a database for nutrient analysis of forages).

Another great resource to read is the info from our Asia office which does a lot of research and trialing of different on-farm feeds. Here’s their recent poster on on-farm pig feed: http://edn.link/mhdhmx @Patrick_Trail may be able to speak more directly into his experiences with on-farm feeds with you.

I have been working on a project to balance out feeds for a variety of animals all in one calculator. It’s not done yet, but I can take a stab at getting you a starting place for your feed if you can answer a few questions for me.
What is the desired end-weight of the breed of hog that you have? Is it a local breed or a domesticated breed?
Are there any other ingredients you would like to include or have available in the region?

I see that you will use:

  • Madre de agua (nacedero)

  • sweet potatoes fermented - will you use tubers or leaves or both? What color sweet potatoes?

  • Moringa leaves

  • duckweed (possibly)

  • water spinach (kang kong)

With moringa leaves, nacedero, white sweet potato tubers (I need to search for data on fermented nutritional values), duckweed, and water spinach I got a feed to meet the needs for growing, young hog (need more concentrated protein). My concern though is that this is a high ratio of labor-intensive forages to harvest (duckweed and moringa especially) - that would be so much work! Do you have access to a bran (maize, rice, wheat ect.) or a meal (fish, soybean, maize etc.)?
I can rerun the feed calculator if you let me know what you will feed wet vs. dry and what ratios you have of the different feeds - I just randomly took a stab at it. Let me know if any of it doesn’t make sense.

Here’s running it for 1, young hog (all green totals mean you have hit the requirements):