Drumstick / Moringa farming in india, Yield and Profit per acre

Moringa, the Indian superfood. Rich in protein and fiber, cheap, and a plant that can be cultivated almost anywhere in India. The leaf, fruit, and flowers are consumed The flowers have a very short shelf life and are not commercially available. The leaves are used in salads, raw or can be consumed cooked. The fruit is rich in nutrients and vitamins and is also used in various ayurvedic medicines.

the use of moringa is wide. IT treats a range of conditions from obesity, constipation, and malnutrition. The high protein content and vitamin C (more than oranges) make the leaves special. it’s known to have more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, 9 times more iron than spinach, and a higher concentration of vitamin A than carrots. Moringa leaves are dried and powdered to create capsules.

With the wide range of benefits of moringa comes a demand which is waiting to be filled. While few companies manufacture processed capsule moringa, the lack of awareness about its benefits hinders the market. Many consumers do not know the benefits, do not know how to cook or consume the leaves, or are unavailable in the region.

Moringa leaves have a short shelf life. This makes it scarce in the market. Very few shops sell moringa leaves. unlike amaranth palak and other leafy vegetables, moringa leaves are not sold in the market. Drumsticks, the fruit of the moringa plant though is widely sold and available.

Farming Moringa in India.

reference: https://agritech.tnau.ac.in

How to cultivate moringa

Moringa comes in 2 varieties and is cultivated for its fruits and leaves. Farmers usually focus on the fruit itself, but there is a good market for leaves too if you find companies that will purchase them. Cultivating leaves is easy but requires that you follow stringent procedures. Organic produce is key to producing leaves commercially. Since the leaves are used for medicinal purposes, cultivating leaves with chemicals is often not recommended. 

Moringa comes in 2 types. The one which is a tree could grow up to 20 feet and the ones which are of the plant variety can grow up to 10 feet and is dense with more leaves. The tree is the native type. It has a longer life span but is not predictable when it comes to yield or production of the fruit itself. While they incur little to no maintenance, the commercial viability for trees is considerably lower as compared to the plant variety. The hybrid varieties have the potential of 50 Tonnes per hectare in yield of frit while the normal tree variety which is considered desi could yield anywhere between 5-10 tonnes per hectare. Hybrid trees can yield up to 20 Tonnes per hectare and are perennial, unlike the annual plant variety.

Irrigation and fertilizer

The irrigation and fertigation of moringa trees vary depending on the type. The plant variety requires more irrigation and fertigation as compared to the tree varieties. Hybrid trees too require timely irrigation and fertigation for better yield. Moringa trees are native to tropical and subtropical climatic conditions. They can tolerate drought and harsh summers. Winters are not well tolerated. Even though they can take harsh summers and short spells of drought, it’s recommended that you irrigate the moringa crop frequently during summer. For a commercial moringa farm, it’s required that you have a healthy and all-around crop throughout the life of the tree.

In general, the Moringa plant is very less demanding. Fertigation before planting, once after 3 months, and then every 6th month of fertigation is required for moringa trees. 

Neem Cake and FYM are used during the land preparation. NPK (45:15:30) Grams per tree are to be applied on the 3rd month and 45 Grams of Nitrogen every 6th month. 

Its always recommended getting a soil test done before planting any tree. Sufficient soil nutrients will require you to up or down the nutrition levels for your moringa plants. As for irrigation, the plant requires water only once a fortnight once they are set. This depends on the soil type and your plant may require water once a week if you are in arid areas.

The Lifespan of a Moringa tree is from 30-40 years. 

Moringa farming for leaves

Leaves are the most cultivated part of the moringa plant. While the fruit itself is considered a vegetable and widely consumed in India, the Leaves are not seasonal and are available throughout the year and have a demand for medicines and also as a vegetable in various parts of India. While the leaves are not usually consumed in the northern part of India, the southern part of India finds its own set of uses for the leaves. From fried moringa leaves to make adding them to dal, there are plenty of ways to use moringa in your daily meal.

Commercially though, Moringa leaves are not sold in most shops or grocery stores. Due to its poor shelf life and lack of interest from customers, moringa leaves are not cultivated to be sold locally. Also, the easy availability of leaves makes moringa leaves less interesting for locals in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Most people find at least one moringa tree in their area, some even plant a tree at home! The leaves from a tree are sufficient enough for a family.

Fortunately, there are uses for the leaves. Moringa Leaves are high in nutrition. They are more nutritious than the fruit itself in many ways. The leaves are dried and converted to capsules. They are also a major part of ayurvedic medicine which makes it widely used and popular. A range of studies about the Leaves indicate that it’s one of the key products which has the chance to eradicate malnutrition in developing and underdeveloped countries. 

For more information on the research visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Moringa fodder farming

One of the benefits of Moringa is that almost all parts are consumed by humans and animals. As fodder, the leaves are nutrient-rich and full of protein. This helps in the growth of young animals. There was no significant difference in milk quality or yield though the milk had an earthy smell to it. Moringa fodder could be more easily available and sometimes in abundance where other crops are not possible to grow. This makes Moringa a possible fodder crop that can be grown for dairy farms. 

Research on Moringa as a fodder crop is available on https://www.researchgate.net/

Moringa leaves are great for young goats and can be considered as a goat feed. Many farmers, especially goat farmers are considering moringa cultivation for goat feed.

Moringa farming seeds of gold

Moringa seeds are rare. They weigh a lot less and they are usually not the best produce to cultivate. Though they have a lot of benefits, the yield is very less making moringa seeds very expensive. The main purpose of moringa seeds is for moringa oil extraction. The cake, after removing the oil is used as animal feed and to purify water where potable water is not available.