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By Mercedes Ramos
The moringa ‘Oleifera’, known as moringa, is a tree originally from northern India, although it grows in almost any type of arid and semi-arid soil in Asia, Africa and America. Already in the Ayurvedic medicine text "Sushruta Samhita", from the beginning of the 1st century, references to this species are known. It was also known to the early Romans, Greeks and Egyptians.
Currently, its cultivation in Latin America is booming, ranging from California, to Argentina, through Chile, Arizona and Florida. In Africa it was introduced more than a thousand years ago, and grows in the coastal countries of the continent. In addition, there are plantations in Australia and on the Arabian Peninsula.
In the Iberian Peninsula, researchers from the CSIC (Higher Center for Scientific Research) specialized in agriculture and ethnobotany of the Ibero-Islamic and Christian culture, do not rule out its cultivation in places of Andalusia (Al-Andalus in the Middle Ages), says the « Study of the possible areas of introduction of Moringa oleifera Lam. in the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands ”.
This plant, little known today, has a promising future in the diet industry because they are rich in carbohydrates, it tastes good and is versatile. It can be combined with juices and smoothies, adding a slight spicy touch to the preparation. Its fruit is pod-shaped, it can be cooked even while it is green and its roots are edible.
New factory in the Canary Islands
The German company Moringafarm has chosen the Canary Islands as the ideal place for the exploitation and research of new nutritional products produced through what is known as "green biotechnology", as reported by the public company of the Government of the Canary Islands, Proexca. Its objective is the production of cfood supplements from the moringa.
The company will make an investment of approximately 427,000 euros over the next two years and it is expected that initially five direct jobs will be created.
The promoter of the initiative, the entrepreneur Bernd efinger, has explained that the choice of the Canary Islands is due to several factors, such as the weather conditions which are appropriate for the extensive cultivation of this species.
The factory will be located in the Güímar industrial estate, in Tenerife, and in parallel, Moringafarm has signed a collaboration agreement on R + D + i with the Cabildo of Lanzarote to install experimental orchards for the plant's production.
The idea is to market oils with high in vitamin E and oleic acid, food and tea dressings, and serve as a salad ingredient. They will also sell food capsules.
Efinger has indicated that its intention is to carry the products made in Tenerife to Europe, especially to Germany, where the demand for moringa has increased a lot in recent years.
The leaves of this tree are a nutrient source. Every 100 edible grams supposes to ingest four times more vitamin A than the same quantity of carrots; seven times more vitamin C than the equivalent in oranges; twice as much calcium as cow's milk; three times more potassium than the same proportion of bananas and more than twice the protein that contains cow's milk.