Madhya Pradesh Moringa
Moringa leaf powder could provide a low-cost but precious nutrient in poorer farming communities where fresh food is rare and the wheat-based diet lacks in the very minerals and vitamins moringa fruit and leaf offer. High-value moringa oil production, for its part, could do much to enable gender-balanced agricultural extension as well as self-managed local projects in the fields of education, health, and professional training.Many arguments plead in favour of developing moringa plantation in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where it yet reserves great potential for both subsistence and middle-sized farmers.
Moringa production requires only limited initial funding and can thrive even on poorer soils. The trees require relatively little care and irrigation. So too, they are attacked by few pests, which can be controlled with recourse to traditional, non-chemical pesticides only. In environmental terms, moringa plantation can favour soil enrichment in a region where much land is available but intense, seasonally concentrated rainfall often rinses away topsoil in formation.
Drawing on this propitious constellation of factors, the present project aims to combine the strengths of small-scale producers with those of moringa farmers cultivating larger plots. Whereas domestic plantations for leaf production, which fructify within less than a year, are initially more adapted to complement subsistence farming, oil production, which requires two years to yield sufficient seed, can more easily be developed on larger holdings benefiting from higher levels of investment. The two modes of enterprise are, we argue, complementary rather than exclusive. The key to such cooperation lies is developing a fair-trade production model that equitably balances the labour and capital inputs of smaller and larger producers, respectively, while jointly facilitating access to both local and international markets under a single brand.