Moringa (drumstick) i.e. Moringa oleifera Lom. belonging to the family Moringaceae is a handsome softwood tree, native of lndia, occurring wild in the sub-Himalayan regions of northern lndia and now grown worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics for its tender pods and also for its leaves and flowers.
India is the largest producer of a drumstick (Moringa); several benefits can be derived from all parts of Moringa. Moringa is coming into view as future crop considering its wider adaptability and tolerance to the severe drought conditions. In present view more than 80% of the Moringa products demand is fulfilled by India. It is essential to develop a roadmap to engage its potential for the well-being of humankind. The global Moringa products market estimated to be over US$ 4.6 billion is highly dependent on India. With the unification of Moringa farming, Moringa processing, Moringa value addition and export, incomes and livelihoods of dry land people will be supported because Moringa cultivation is economically viable and it gives multi-fold income with low cost of investment. Hence, Moringa Agriculture fosters the sustainable growth and in future may provide opportunities for new green revolution.
Moringa is packed with vitamins A, C, E, and is high in calcium, which supports bone health and prevents heart disease. Moringa is also a great source of potassium, which reduces anxiety and stress. Moringa the second fastest growing plant in the world, is able to grow up to two inches a day. A single moringa tree can mature quickly enough to feed an entire family within a year. Unlike other superfood greens, moringa tree continues to produce long after the first harvest, making it a long-lasting source of nutrition. Moringa is considered as good quality meal.
lndia is the prevalent prime producer of moringa (drumstick) with an annual production of 2.2 million tons of tender fruits from an area of 38, 000 ha. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh leads in both area and production (15,665 ha) followed by Karnataka (10,280 ha) and Tamil Nadu (7,408 ha). Interestingly, 80 per cent of the production of Moringa leaves takes place in lndia, fetching crores of foreign exchange for the country. ln lndia, moringa trees are grown in about more than one lakh acres.
Cost of Moringa Crop Production
The per acre costs and returns of moringa cultivation for pod and leaves are presented which is pertaining to the reference year 2016-2017 for the study conducted in Theni and Dindigul. Out of the total cost, major cost items are weedicides and pesticides which account for 17.15 and l3%, respectively. ln case of moringa leaf production, the cost of pesticides is only 1.5%, but the cost of manures and fertilizers is higher in comparison to the moringa pod production. Moringa farmers in the study area got an average of lot/acre yield of tender pods.
The Moringa crop farms for pod production incurred the expenditure of one Rupee and could get the profit of about Rupees 1.3, which is not economically viable one, but pod production ensures the livelihood of farmers by selling pods @ Rs. 10 Kg in open market or to the traders. However, the survey revealed that Moringa crop for leaf production is more profitable than for the tender pod production because Moringa farms for leaf production got an average yield of 30 ton fresh leaves/acre/year, as farmers are taking 7 harvests per year.
Moringa farms for leaves production incurred the expenditure of Rs. 1 and could get the profit of about Rs. 3.45 which is more profitable and economically viable even when market price is Rs 10 Kg. Also, in case of dry leaves approximately 3 ton dry leaf yield/acre fetch Rs 75-100 in the market giving benefit from Rs. 2.59 to 3.45 (Rs. 225000-300000 being total gross income) profit which is more desirable for the farmers to uplift their Socio-Economic status by promoting and creating the markets for Moringa leaf production.