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Recent advances in production, processing and utilization of Moringa oleifera in Ghana
- Adu-Dapaah, H., Osei-Bonsu, I., Oduro, I., Asiedu, J.
- Acta horticulturae 2017 no.1158 pp. 179-186
- Moringa oleifera, alley cropping, farmers, financial economics, forage, hardwood, leaves, marketing, medicine, mineral fertilizers, nutrition, planting, seeds, stakeholders, supply chain, trees, Ghana
- Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is cultivated for use as food, fodder and medicine. Commercial production, processing, and utilization of this 'wonder' crop have increased in many African countries, including Ghana. This is due to widespread knowledge of its varied food, nutrition, medicinal and economic benefits. Despite the increased commercial production of the tree crop, not much research has been conducted, especially on its production in Ghana. This may be because moringa grows well across all agro-ecologies; additionally, it appears recommendations on agronomic practices from other tropical ecologies work for the end-users, especially farmers. This paper discusses the recent advances in agronomic aspects of production in Ghana with respect to current practices used by stakeholders along the moringa value chain from seed production, planting, processing to marketing. For optimal leaf production, high density planting (300,000-1 million plants ha-1) using either seeds or hardwood stem cuttings (30 cm to 1 m long) has been recommended. The use of moringa in agroforestry systems (alley cropping) is also being promoted in some communities. The beneficial use of the crop has been extended to include feed for grass-cutter and as a replacement for mineral fertilizers in small-holder farms. Anecdotal evidence and casual information suggest that over 10,000 farmers use improved agronomic practices. All these are discussed along with studies conducted by researchers and their implications for improving the productivity and utilization of moringa.