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Moyo is an African origin word which implies that the
"heart and mind act as one to cultivate the spirit”
by Caroline Olivier, Ing.F. M.Sc.
Part 2 - Grow Your Own Superfood by following these planting and care instructions for your Moringa seeds and trees. This article concerns intensive leaf production and cultivation on a test farm in the North of Senegal.
6. Cleaning and drying of harvested leaves, crushing and bagging dry leaves
Once the trees are cut, the harvested branches are washed in treated water to remove sand and dust from the leaves. We do not use untreated water from the Gueirs Lake which is invested by microbes such as bilharziasis.
The daily water needs are about 400 liters. We also enforce exemplary cleanliness among farm workers. During the harvesting and leaf cleaning time, workers must frequently wash their hands with soap and remove shoes or boot before entering the drying room.
A laboratory analysis of the leaf powder showed that it was a clean product free of fecal coliforms.
After the rinsing, the leaves are manually stripped from the branches and put into a basket for transport to the drying room. The moist leaves are spread onto the screened trays in thin layers to permit easy air circulation.
At the present time, the farm’s drying room has 250 such trays. Leaf-drying time depends on the level of humidity in the atmosphere. During the rainy season, 4 days are needed; during the dry season, 2 days are sufficient.
Once dried, the leaves are crushed using a diesel-powered hammer mill – a mill like the one used in villages to crush millet seed into flour, but with a finer screen.
The millet is stationed in the shaded area next to the drying room. The leaf powder transported to the village of Keur Momar Sarr, 21 km away, where electricity is available (there is no electricity at the farm or in the village of Ndimb).
At Keur Momar Sarr the leaf powder is placed in plastic bags of 200 gr, 1 kg or 4 kg which are sealed shut using a plastic welder.
Only the leaves are used in producing the powder. The stems left behind are fed to sheep which appear to fatten more rapidly than sheep fed the traditional diet.
7. Yields and costs
At this time, the root mass of the Moringa plants represents a considerable proportion of the total mass of the plants, but to date this has not caused any problems.
What knowledge we have suggests that productivity will start to decline three years from now if the plantation is maintained that long.
Large inputs of fertilizers are necessary to maintain the current level of productivity within a density of 1 million plants per hectare. These fertilizers are very expensive.
But it is labor which remains the highest expenditure among ongoing costs after the investments made through fixed costs such as drying room construction and purchase of hammer mill and motor pump.
Without taking into account fixed costs and unexpected repair costs, the plantation operates with about 1,200,000 CFA francs per month (about US$2,400 with an exchange rate of 500 CFA per dollar).
This amount includes:
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