Malunggay industry eyeing European market

CLARK FREEPORT – The big demand of malunggay (Moringa) products in various countries around the globe have motivated local major players to encourage the public to cultivate and make profit with this miracle tree.

Bernadette Arellano, founding chair of the Moringaling Philippine Foundation, Inc. (MPFI), said malunggay products, which is being considered as a “super food” in the United States, had penetrated Japan, Israel, Korea and Australia markets.

She said major players in the malunggay industry is eyeing Germany and other European markets ‘that is why we encouraged everyone to plant this miracle tree to meet the growing demands abroad.”

In fact, Arellano said, some three tons of raw materials are being shipped to Japan and processed it there as herbal or alternative medicine, additives and also used as functional products for different foods.

“At present, there are only about 50 hectares of land that are planted with moringa (scientific name for malunggay) across the country and the biggest farm is in Negros Occidental covering four villages with 1-million of trees and in Bay, Laguna,” said Arellano during a press conference held at the Montevista Villa function room Saturday.

In Pampanga, around .7 hectare is planted with malunggay in Barangay Sta. Barbara, Bacolor town. The farm is owned by Israeli David Makain, 65, who is married to a Pampagueña.

Makain said he supplies malunggay leaves and seeds to local manufacturers in the country. He sometimes exports the product and introduced it to Israel market as an alternative medicine and functional food ingredients.

He said a greenhouse was established in Bacolor town and served as nursery for moringa seedlings.

Arellano said buyers in Germany have preferred Philippine malunggay as compared to other varieties in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and India.

Genara Olais-Matsuoka, treasurer of MPFI who shared her experiences to the media on the “wonder” of malunggay, said she ventured into this kind of business shortly after her Japanese husband, diagnosed with cirrhosis liver, recovered after ingesting malunggay seeds.

Olais-Matsuoka, who hails from Mindanao, is now a major stockholder of Japan-Philippines Malunggay Eco Farm, Inc. with large plantation in Bay, Laguna. The products such as Moringa Health Tea and Malunggay Furikake, a dried dressing, now famous in Japan, are just some of the produce being shipped to Japan.

The MPFI will be hosting the 4th Moringa Congress and Exhibit on Nov. 21 to 23 here with international speakers, including Dr. Jed Fahey who wrote books about scientific study and health benefits of malunggay to consumers. – Jess Malabanan