Moringa mission to boost in Economy
High global demand, health benefits make drumstick cultivation most lucrative for
CHENNAI: With the announcement of Moringa Mission at an estimated cost of Rs 11 crore to promote and find out the export potential in the State Agriculture Budget, the farmers from the region are elated as it would encourage them to take up the cultivation as a full-time crop which would belucrative on par with the other agriculture produces with the high demand of value-added products across the globe owing to its health benefits.
“Apart from the fund allocation for the promotion of moringa (drumstick) that has multiple health benefits, the cultivation areas of the crops would be increased in an area of 1,000 ha besides creating value addition as well as processing facilities,” said Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare MRK Panneerselvam while presenting the State Agriculture Budget 2023-24 few days ago.
The Minister said to increase export opportunities in moringa, training in cultivation techniques, value-addition, certification, and export standards would be given to the farmers and the exporters through the Special Export Facilitation Centre in Madurai, in coordination with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
According to APEDA, India has managed to hold a dominant position in the moringa market for exports. It accounts for 80 per cent of the total production of moringa leaves, fetching crores of foreign exchange for the country. This is attributed to the fact that for smaller suppliers, it will be very difficult to compete on price and the standardisation of moringa leaf powder as provided by Indian companies.
“With an annual growth rate of 26-30 per cent, states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Odisha are the major players in theexports of moringa leaves,” APEDA study says. Out of the total moringa production in Tamil Nadu, Theni, Dindigul, Karur, Thoothukudi and Tirupur districts have six out of the 13popular moringa varieties in the world. As Moringa Mission covers the districts like Ariyalur, Karur, Tirupur, Dindigul, Theni, Madurai, and Thoothukudi, the revenue cover in these districts would be enormous once the mission picks up, said Sathish Kumar, an exporter from Tiruchy.
“Though the crop has been widely cultivated in these districts which mostly have the rain-fed cultivation, each district has its own special variety of crops that has a vast consumer demand across the world,” said Sathish Kumar. Moringa and its value-added products have a huge market in North America, Europe, Gulf Countries, and China. “There is an emerging market for moringa-based animal feed in Australia due to its medicinal properties,” he said.
Meanwhile, the exporters here claim Tamil Nadu will generate an income of Rs 50,000 crore in 5 years, as the Moringa Mission has been declared. India commenced exports of moringa powder on December 29, 2020, as per the Ministryof Commerce and Industry data. Two tonnes of organically certified Moringa powder was exported to the US through an air consignment with the support of APEDA. With high demand across the world, Tamil Nadu is poised to increase the income of farmers and instil interest in cultivating the crop which had faced a decline in production earlier.