The Power Of Moringa

No chicken tinola is complete if it misses out on leaves of malunggay. The flavor extracted from its leaves add a different measurement to the broth that finishes the entire experience of enjoying this Filipino feel-good meal.

Enjoy it as a meal or take in as medication, malunggay (Moringa oleifera) is a nutrient-packed plant. Specialists say that a cup of fresh chopped leaves can offer you protein, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and vitamins A to C-- hence its name, the 'Miracle Tree'.

With the rapid development in demand for malunggay across the nation, investors, groups and cooperatives are jumping on the train to provide its clients with the dietary and medical benefits this product brings. An all-woman group from Sariaya, Quezon is reaping the benefits of this commodity.

In December 2018, a malunggay-based task under the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) with DA-PHilMech, led by Bio-Process Engineering Division Chief, Dr. Ofero A. Capariño, was approved.

AFACI and PHilMech wanted to reinforce the cooperation amongst member-countries toward agricultural technology development, boost agricultural innovation and understanding transfer and sharing among other member-countries, promote and strengthen human resource network.

From this collaboration, came the birth of the Women of Malunggay Network Incorporation (WOMAN Inc.). Developed in 2018, WOMAN Inc., headed by Vivian F. Gomez, wishes to empower females by supplying them a chance to learn and earn through farming and drying malunggay.

"Sa panahon ngayon, ang mga asawang babae walang trabaho kaya sila ang tinutulungan namin. Ang mahal na ng bilihin. Hindi na kaya ng isa lang ang may trabaho sa pamilya." (These days, it's the spouses who are unemployed, that's why we help them. Home products are getting costly. A bachelor working in the household is not enough.)

What used to be a pastime for Vivian and her spouse, producing malunggay ended up being a passion with, starting with just 2 members in their group. They started recruiting ladies in their area till they became a strong group of 15 female members. Inspired by AFACI and PHilMech's goal, LADY Inc. registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019 to sign the Memorandum of Contract (MOA) on the malunggay project. As part of the AFACI job, they were acknowledged as a cooperative.


When malunggay ended up being a hot commodity, investors quickly tried to find ways to enhance the quality of producing dried moringa leaves that would avoid rejection from customers. Mind you, as easy as malunggay is to plant, drying moringa leaves while preserving a high quality is an extremely different story.

Vivian's group, prior to the arrival of AFACI and PHilMech, practiced moringa drying that was messy and underdeveloped. They would pick and buy malunggay from different farmers then dry the product straight on top of bamboo branches (which triggered microbial load). Quantity was the initial name of the game, however when the rejections from financiers stacked, something had to change.

When PHilMech offered help to Vivian's group, issues were rapidly identified for the production of moringa powder. A lack of awareness on the correct drying procedures and protocols to produce quality and safe dried items were viewed as the main causes for rejection.

Addressing these issues came the task, "Production of Moringa (Moringa oleifera) powder using Multi-Commodity Solar Tunnel Dryer (MCSTD)" through funding assistance from the AFACI-RDA-APPT job. The task aimed to.

increase the earnings of farmers in the villages through the production of high quality, safe and shelf-stable moringa powder utilizing the MCSTD.

With a couple of adjustments suited to the requirements of WOMAN Inc., PHilMech created, produced and set up an improved prototype of the existing MCSTD called the Hygienic and Collapsible Multi Commodity Solar Tunnel Dryer (HC-MCSTD). As the name suggests, this version of the MCSTD is collapsible with light building products, making it a gender-friendly technology, too.

Since writing, this innovation is undergoing patent application at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

Practices of the cooperative were also developed through appropriate training and workshop on Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. With these training courses, they had the ability to establish an efficient processing protocol in producing moringa powder with the HC-MCSTD.

The result of having a proper processing procedure quickly caught the eyes of investors. One which is Dr. Asedillio M. Turing, creator and CEO of PHilTycoon (a regional maker and international supplier of natural and holistic products), who existed throughout a three-day abilities training conducted by PHilMech at WOMAN Inc.'s site. Dr. Turing and his company is dedicated to helping the little farmers gain economically by buying their goods. In a similar fashion, he assists Vivian's group by buying their processed malunggay in bulk prior to selling.

With an 8000-square meter land that produces 100 kilograms of fresh malunggay leaves monthly, in addition to Vivian purchasing as much as 2 lots from malunggay farmers in their area, investors like Dr. Turing can be guaranteed of sufficient supply. Vivian's newfound processing methods (with help from the HC-MCSTD) can harness the power brought by the moringa powder.