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Story from the MyFoodStory website:


Moringa


FOOD INSECURITY IN OUR COMMUNITY

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News that 7.9 million people faces starvation in East Africa, according to UN FAO is, but disturbing indeed. Ridiculously, Kenya is a major contributor to these starving numbers. Others are Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. What comes to mind whenever such grim is mentioned by international agencies like FAO is whether Africa can act to reverse the trend. For along time, the spread of hunger, diseases, desertification, civil wars among other social ills that even Africa have seemed inexorable. With little determination, starvation will no longer have legs to continue patching. The solution lies in simple and affordable technologies, which make a great difference.

The above statement makes me worry stiff and from the look of events never think of having hunger solutions for our hungry community, at the World Social forum, the issue of using technology as a tool for rights was high and every eye was fixed on Africa and it's starving people. Hunger was the major block for making slow progress in development to many Africa states due to debts, which must be paid. Countries within Africa and participants of common value for all human chanted ˜we must not pay debts". We want debt relief as some countries have demonstrated by cutting debts. But this is not a solution, we must reverse trends through technology to utilize crop production to solve food insecurity problem in our developing countries.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO REVERSE THE PRODUCTION TREND.

I will look on Moringa tree, which has been introduced to our Island by the UNDP of Greening Rusinga Initiative, and give some links with technology. As the damning report was being released in Rome in November 2006, floods were killing people in Kenya. In addition, the government and the civil society strategies to harvest and manage rainwater for posterity, in places like Garissa that have adversely been affected with the shortage of water will soon start complaining about drought and lack of water.

Useful methods of water management such as cultivation of crops with low water demand, re-use of water, drip irrigation and water harvesting during rainy season appear to have escaped our innovative mind in this part of Africa. Given that, we still have to contend with water scarcity with time to come due to, lack of resources, political will and know how, it would be prudent to go for innovations in our localities.

Types of Moringa

In an effort to promote crops with low water demand, researchers recently gathered in West Africa to explore the virtues of the Moringa tree, in food security amidst dwindling fortunes of water availability. For starters, Moringa is a tropical tree with multiple uses and is resistant to drought. Among the 13 species, known Moringa Oleifera is particularly easy to reproduce and its growth is very fast. Moringa stenopetala and other species from Eastern Africa and Madagascar also have potential even though they have been less exploited so far.

Uses of Moringa

The numerous economic uses of Moringa Oleifera together with its easy propagation have raised growing international interest for this tree which originated from India and which is found in the tropical countries In Africa, Asia, and America. Moringa stenopetala and other species from Eastern Africa and Madagascar also have potential even though they have been less exploited so far. This calls for Agricultural experts to start popularizing this tree as means of checking the vagaries of weather.

Moringa is an important food source in many countries. Moringa spenopetala leaves are the staple food of the Konso people in Ethiopia. In India Moringa, pods are widely consumed and plantations exist to produce pods for export, fresh and tinned to overseas consumers. In West Africa, Moringa Oleifera leaves are commonly used to make sauces.

Studies have shown the leaves to be an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and proteins: perhaps more than any other tropical vegetable. Many programs use Moringa leaves to fight against malnutrition and its associated diseases (blindness ETC). Thankful East Africa may soon grow the crop in large scale if the on station tests Chalinze, Mlandizi and Bagamoyo are scaled up. Other potential applications of Moringa including the use for livestock feed, plant growth hormone, green manure, medications, paper making are currently the subject of various research efforts. Unpredictable due to fluctuation of rainfall for many years.

Now that there is too much rainfall over the period meant for short rains, the communities are kept waiting for the known season for planting. The water is going into waste. Why can't we use the modern technologies to harvest water or plant crops with little water demand? I visited a Moringa farmer and saw how Moringa is growing faster with less rainfall. I prefer a modest technology for this type of planting the Moringa tree.

Editor: Samwel Okech Kongere

Samwel Okech kongere Nyamuga primary school P.O BOX 191, MBITA 040305-KENYA. Cell: 254 725 600 439 FOSS ADMIRER Community Development UDOGO youth development group-coordinator


From the MyFoodStory website, storyteller Samwel Okech Kongere

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