Moringa oleifera which can be harvested within six months has been introduced by the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa under Divi Neguma National programme to meet the Government’s objective of encouraging people to lead healthy lives by consuming nutritious food free of poisonous chemicals. This crop also known as ‘miti murunga’ has become popular because it is easy to grow and easy to sustain. Introduced to Sri Lanka from South India 13 years ago, it can be grown in tropical climates and is a favorite food of people in the Middle-East which has become the main market for this crop grown in Sri Lanka.
Although this plant grows easily in the island’s dry zone, it can also be easily grown in all areas of the low country from Jaffna to Hambantota, according to Agricultural Radio Service acting Director Hiran Peiris. According to him it is best to grow it in areas where water flows rather than in places where water gets collected. The plant yields throughout the year and contains many nutrients human body need for healthy growth, he says. Among them are vitamins A,B and C, potassium, carbohydrates, calcium, phosperous, sodium, iron and magnesium, all of which are found in the leaves and pods of this murunga plant, which the Economic Development Ministry hopes to popularize throughout the island.