The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Sam Sesay, has stated that very soon the cultivation of Moringa tropical plant in Sierra Leone may likely put some medical practitioners out of business.
He said his ministry has huge latitude of responsibility including self-food efficiency and tropical medicine to keep healthy.
He said Moringa is the most nutritious plant discovered on earth and each and every part of it has nutritional and medicinal values that have the propensity to cure over 300 diseases of all kinds.
The history of Moringa dates far back to thousands of years as shown by Indian literature.
The tree is said to be a native plant of India that later spread to Africa and other tropical countries around the world.
According to the Secretary General of Moringa Association in Sierra Leone, Mr. Jonas Coleman, until very recently Moringa was grown around houses in Sierra Leone and Africa to provide shade, little realizing its economic and medicinal values.
He said around the early 1990s a lot of work was done on Moringa plant by an American non- governmental organization known as ‘Church World Service’ to properly identify its agronomic potential and since then thousands of people around the world do not only use it for nutritious and medicinal purposes, but are fully involved in it as a source of employment and full scale economic venture.
He said the customer base of Moringa is on the increase, noting that the President and Head of State, President Ernest Bai Koroma, is now the principal customer who always subscribes to the Moringa oil.
Apart from the President, other top people in society are now permanent customers, adding that other categories of people in society are greatly benefitting from it as it is being cultivated for consumption and medicine.
He said a total of 250, 000 seeds were distributed to people across the country last year to engage people in some form of economic venture.
Some eat them while large proportion of the beneficiaries planted the seeds and they started realizing dividend from the venture. Moringa seeds are used for purification of water; the leaf is also being used to stimulate plant growth and the trees are also used as fuel wood.
The seed contains 40% vegetable oil for cooking, soap making and lamp fuel.
The leaves, he said, are very instrumental for the wellbeing of lactating mothers and their babies, stating that Moringa leaves are used by mothers in India to feed their children because the leaf is rich in protein which is usually eaten by pregnant and lactating women to increase their milk production.
By Solomon Rogers