By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

The 6th Moringa National Congress and Exhibit revolved around the central theme of producing, processing, and promoting malunggay as a solution to malnutrition in the Philippines.

“Moringa is a nutritious vegetable. It has seven times more vitamin C than a regular citrus fruit and it has more potassium more than the banana,” said Moringaling Philippines Foundation Inc. Founding Chairman Bernadette E. Arellano.

Arellano, who is a malunggay farmer and advocate herself, considers the vegetable a superfood that could provide people with necessary nutrients without them having to spend a great deal of money.

Organized by the MPFI, a network organization fuelled by their mission to raise awareness about the benefits of malunggay both for health and as an additional source of income, the Moringa Congress is an annual event that gathers enthusiasts and stakeholders in the country’s malunggay industry.

Producers, distributors, farmers, scientists, health advocates, and more attended the event to learn new discoveries and techniques in malunggay production as well as the different products that can be made from malunggay such as medicine, drinks, and food products.

Also present in the Moringa Congress were representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) to elaborately discuss with the delegates the

“There’s so much demand in [for malunggay], locally and internationally. We could not produce enough because the Filipinos are not aware of its potential for the pocket and for the health,” Arellano said.

Arellano also said that the what people think  to be as the “lowly” malunggay isn’t lowly at all.

Moringa, commonly known as malunggay in the Philippines, is known for the nutrients it possesses. Research on the vegetable’s different parts has properties that are anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, and anti-aging.

If produced in high-quality, Arellano said that moringa could be a good source of income because it can be processed into different consumables and it lessens the cost of buying medicine.

Apart from the plenary discussions from the representatives of different organizations and breakaway sessions, MPFI also launched their new chapter in Japan.

One of the many advocacies of MPFI is to form chapters in different countries to broaden their influence and to help spread knowledge about moringa internationally.

This was originally published in Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture News on May 4, 2019.