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Moringa research and development project at Central Philippine University: Progress, challenges and opportunities
(International Society for Horticultural Science, 2021-04-15)
Moringa is a common backyard tree crop in the Philippines and is grown by many home owners as a source of green leafy vegetable. Although moringa is a popular crop, little research studies have been conducted in central Philippines. The College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences at Central Philippine University initiated a research project in 2009 to: 1) identify and evaluate promising cultivars of moringa adapted to the growing conditions of Western Visayas and 2) develop improved crop management practices for increasing yield and production. Germplasm collection and evaluation identified promising cultivars with desirable horticultural characteristics from India, Laos, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and USA. From this field evaluation one promising cultivar, 'PKM-1' from India, was grown at four plant densities to determine leaf biomass production as influenced by plant density and harvest frequency. Maximum plant density of 40,000 plants ha<sup>-1</sup> and harvest frequency of 8 week intervals produced a high leaf biomass yield. A separate study was conducted to determine and compare the nutritional quality of Moringa oleifera and Moringa peregrina. Significant differences in calcium, iron and anti-oxidant activity were found between the species. Moringa oleifera 'PKM-1' contained higher calcium and iron than M. peregrina. Training workshops and seminars were conducted to transfer the technology and educate farmers on the multiple uses and benefits of moringa. The university has established linkages with the World Vegetable Center (Taiwan), Department of Agriculture and local NGOs in promoting moringa as a high-value crop. The university has proposed to organize a regional R&D center for moringa to address the challenges and opportunities facing moringa growers in areas of improved cultivars, seed production and propagation, crop management practices, post-harvest processing and quality, marketing and value chain enhancement....