maandag 30 maart 2009


MANILA, MARCH 30, 2009 (STAR) Proving that it is indeed a super vegetable, Malacañang has tapped “malunggay” (moringa) in the fight against poverty and climate change.

The government has sought the cooperation of malunggay farmers in helping alleviate poverty and save the environment because the vegetable can improve air quality, reduce the incidence of floods and lessen hunger and malnutrition.

National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) chief Secretary Domingo Panganiban also pledged to increase support services for farmers under the government’s malunggay development program.

He said malunggay farmers are in a position to mitigate the effects of climate change and increase employment opportunities for the poor.

“Malunggay trees can improve air quality and reduce the incidence of floods that are brought on by more frequent and more powerful typhoons,” Panganiban said during the induction of the newly elected officers of the Moringa Growers Federation of the Philippines.

Much of the flooding now seen in various parts of the country can be attributed to massive and widespread deforestation, he said.

Panganiban said the propagation of malunggay in the country’s poorest provinces could also increase employment opportunities for the poor and reduce hunger and malnutrition.

“A vast number of the country’s rural folk are poor. The growing market for malunggay products can allow them the employment and income opportunities they need to rise from poverty,” he said.

Director Alicia Ilaga of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Biotechnology Unit agreed and reiterated her agency’s commitment to assist malunggay farmers throughout the country.

“Our first commitment is to help you identify agricultural lands suitable for malunggay commercial plantation,” she said.

She said the DA will also develop better technologies and shed facilities for the massive production of malunggay planting materials.

Ilaga said the DA is developing new technologies that will allow the production of 27,000 plantlets from a single seed.

“Last but not least, we will develop the standards for malunggay so we can maintain the quality of malunggay products and we can protect the industry we are creating,” Ilaga said.

Eufroceles Udarbe, president of the Moringa Growers Federation of the Philippines, meanwhile said that his organization is comprised of some 15 farmer associations. “We have already seen to the planting of malunggay in some 500 hectares nationwide,” he said.

He said the demand for malunggay products is growing for both pharmaceutical purposes, food and biofuel production.

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