From the Farm: Moringa for Seed Production
Over the years, ECHO's seed bank in Florida has sourced Moringa oleifera seeds from both local and international sources. In 2009, a local church graciously allowed ECHO to plant a specific variety of M. oleifera on their property and later manage and harvest the seeds. That experience raised our awareness of local production's value in providing seeds to our network in light of the difficulty in sourcing seeds internationally. In 2021, we decided to produce M. oleifera seeds on our Global Farm in Fort Myers, Florida. This entailed a decision to prioritize seed production over that of trialing and demonstrating multiple varieties. An isolation distance of at least 500 m between M. oleifera varieties is recommended to prevent cross-pollination by bees. To offer and maintain genetic purity of a single variety, instead of seeds with a genetic mix of multiple varieties, we decided to grow just one variety on the farm for seed. Before doing this, we conducted a few trials to identify a variety with good production of mild-tasting leaves within easy reach from the ground. This meant we needed a variety with good branching characteristics leading to outward instead of just upward growth. We identified a variety, PKM-1 from Ghana, that fits those parameters. We removed all the other varieties from the farm and currently have 23 PKM-1 trees planted. As these trees yield seeds, we will plant more trees on the farm and offer seeds to our network. We look forward to serving our network with this variety!