CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Eat their leaves raw for hydration. Mix them with other meals for better nutrition. Inexpensive and readily available even in the worst of times.
“Malunggay” (Moringa oleifera), according to a group promoting its consumption for better health, offers answers to the nutrition needs of the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the Visayas.
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“It’s going to be a big help to the victims of the disaster,” said Bernadette Estrella-Arellano, founder of Moringaling Philippines Foundation Inc. (MPFI), which promotes the consumption of malunggay.
She said people could eat malunggay leaves raw to hydrate their bodies. These could also be mixed with any meal to improve nutrition.
“It was the answer to malnutrition in poor countries,” she said.
Arellano said the fifth congress of MPFI would set aside time to discuss how the network of malunggay advocates could help in the nutrition programs of the national government.
Some 500 consumers, producers, educators and community organizers are expected to attend the congress set at Clark Freeport Zone on Nov. 21-22.
Arellano said reports she received showed that the typhoon spared a farm planted with a million malunggay trees in Negros Occidental province.
The typhoon, described to be the strongest in the world this year, ravaged provinces in the Visayas.
Arellano said staving off widespread hunger in these disaster-torn areas and keeping people’s nutrition level up were seen to be among the major challenges of the government in the rebuilding process.
In Negros Occidental, a foundation combines mongo, rice and malunggay in a small pack and sells each for only P4. This can be eaten by adding a little amount of water to it, Arellano said.
Survivors, whether in government-built shelters or in their villages, can plant more malunggay through stem cuttings, she said.
MPFI, started in 2009, has lobbied for a law declaring moringa as a national vegetable and November as Moringa Month.
Arellano said several MPFI members export about 3 tons of moringa powder every year. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 10:44 PM November 30, 2013