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16/11/2011: 3rd Moringa National Congress and Exhibit Concluded in Manila

16 NOVEMBER 2011, WASHINGTON, DC. The 3rd Moringa National Congress and Exhibit, an annual event organized by Moringa Philippines Foundation, Inc. (MPFI) was successfully held at the Landbank Plaza in Malate, Manila on 09 November 2011. Various private and public sector representatives, including those from local and multi-national companies, colleges and universities, culinary groups, cooperatives and other malunggay enthusiasts from all over the country and abroad attended. Among the major sponsors of this event were the Philippine Department of Agriculture, Land Bank of the Philippines, San Miguel Corporation and Abono Partylist.

Moringa or "malunggay" as locally known in the Philippines, has been known for its leaves (usually served as a salad) to be a rich source of nutrients. Now, its leaves, flowers, seeds, pods, roots, bark, gum and the seed oil from the moringa plant are continually subjected to intensive research and development programs because the various constituents of the moringa are known to have, among other properties, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor and anti-aging activities.

Dr. Monica Marcu, for instance, a US-based scientist and clinical pharmacologist published a book about moringa as a "Miracle Tree" having been amazed by the edible plant, loaded with most nutrients that the human body needs  such as all essential amino acids, beneficial fats and omega oils, rich amounts of calcium and iron and many other vital minerals, as well as a wide variety and copious amounts of vitamins, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances with very few calories attached to it.

This year's Moringa Congress in the Philippines had plenary sessions that discussed Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), government laws, scientific studies, marketing and credit facilities available. Supporting government agencies are Land Bank of the Philippines for credit and loans, the Department of Agriculture for technical assistance in commercial propagation, Department of Trade and Industry for marketing, the Department of Science and Technology and the University of the Philippines for scientific studies and the Department of Health's Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/ Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) for government regulations.

According to Bernadette Arellano, Founding Chair of MPFI, moringa with its many uses has potentials to be developed commercially to help farmers increase their incomes while improving the nutritional status of its consumers. Moringa powder, for example, was identified as a food nutrition enhancer/energy supplement that has good market potentials including in developed countries, like the US and Canada.

Moringa grows well in warm countries. In the Philippines, it is usually only grown on a backyard scale at the moment. In Hawaii, this tree is being propagated commercially. Vicky Domingo, a Filipino-American farmer, for example, currently has 11 acres planted to moringa. She has been growing moringa for about 30 years now.  For further information on opportunities to develop moringa in the Philippines, Ms. Bernadette Arellano may be contacted by email through bernadettearellano@yahoo.com with a copy for the Philippine Agriculture Attache to the US at joy.javelosa@philippinesagriculture.org. END.