A farmer-scientist has developed a protocol for propagating malunggay to address the demand for planting materials.
Scientifically known as Moringa oleifera, malunggay has become a premium agricultural commodity after it was proven that it contains micronutrients that could address malnutrition nationwide.
Terso Rasco developed the rooting method using bio-culture technique to propagate malunggay seedlings and improved the conventional stem cutting technique used by most farmers in propagating malunggay.
He presented his "chop chop" malunggay protocol and shared the technology to malunggay farmers from different parts of the country during the 2nd National Malunggay Congress at the De La Salle University last November 24.
Using his technique, farmers could easily double, if not triple, and at a much shorter time at that, the production of planting materials. These materials are produced by harvesting the mature malunggay fruits and separating the seeds from the pods from a mature malunggay tree.
Another way of doing it is by chopping down a malunggay tree, cutting the trunk or branches, each about a foot long. When planted, they grow roots and produce new branches.
These processes, however, result in high mortality of planting materials.
Harvesting the seeds from the malunggay fruit takes some time, while stem cuttings easily die when planted.
Rasco observed that malunggay has the ability to regrow a branch, or even roots, when cut or chopped down. "By simply chopping a branch of malunggay and planting it like a malunggay seed, a new malunggay seedling can be grown," Rasco said. "You just have to prepare a good seed bed for the chopped malunggay branch to grow new seedlings," he added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Terso's technique is promising because it only takes less than a month to grow planting materials. "This is what we need to produce enough number of planting materials for the commercial cultivation of this miracle tree," DA said.
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