Arba Minch University along with United Nations Industrial Development Organization has organized a half day capacity development and community engagement workshop to promote Moringa products in Ethiopia on October 20, 2023. Click here to see more photos.

AMU Research and Community Engagement Vice President Behailu Merdekios, Associate Professor, noted that despite its multipurpose benefits, the Moringa tree is not exploited to its full potential in Ethiopia. The workshop is organized to promote value added Moringa based foods, to raise awareness by presenting ideas backed by science about the additional advantages of plant and to identify issues and support individuals and associations working in the industry through research and capacity building, the vice president said.

Dr. Lemlem Sisay, UNIDO's  Chief Technical Adviser, in her virtual opening remark said that her institution along with other partners is implementing Italian Agency for Development Cooperation funded project in the southern Ethiopia region which aims on improving food and nutrition security and livelihood of rural households, targeting especially rural women, through an inclusive and sustainable Moringa Value Chain. According to Dr. Lemlem, the international market demand for Moringa is expanding rapidly; therefore, sustaining and expanding the achievements of the project needs collaborative effort and scaling up the practices helps the country to effectively utilize untapped potential of the resource.

Dr. Mekdes Urge, from College of Agricultural Sciences of Arba Minch University, presenting her paper entitled "Overview of Moringa Production and Consumption in Southern Ethiopia" said that there are 13 Moringa species within the world, and the species named Moringa oleifera and Moringa stenopetala are the foremost well-known. Dr. Mekdes claims that Moringa stenopetala, an indigenous plant of Southern Ethiopia, is used as animal feed and a water purifying agent in addition to being a staple food for millions of people in the area. She also pointed out that the plant has high dietary substances and significantly boosts the body's immune system.

University's Biotechnology Researcher Dr. Addisu Fekadu in his presentation on "Moringa based Food Products: Production and Marketing" stated that by 2023, 811 million people in the world are vulnerable to food shortages, and most of this number is in Africa. From this point of view, to reduce the problem of malnutrition and stunting, it is necessary to focus on indigenous plants such as Moringa that contain essential and dense nutrients, he urged. Apart from the traditional foods prepared from the plant, it is possible to prepare macaroni, bread, soup, oil and other additional foods, Dr Addisu noted. Since Ethiopia is among the countries with high Moringa production and export potential, the plant will play a significant role in creating job opportunities and boosting foreign exchange or currency if it is managed and utilized properly, he stressed. 

Among the participants of the workshop, the manager of the "Enat Moringa" producer and exporter enterprise in Gamo Zone, Mr. Betgel Feleke, said that his organization is earning income by producing moringa powder, oil and tablets to the local and foreign markets. The manager further stated that his company has planned and is exerting effort to produce high quality and wide range of Moringa based products to the foreign market to earn millions of foreign currency.  

Additionally, it was learnt that Moringa has a lot of potential applications in paper, biogas, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and fertilizer industries. Officials, Academic and research staff from AMU, officials and experts from regional, zonal and town Enterprise and Job Creation offices, Women Associations and other stakeholders were in attendance; AMU Executive Research Director Dr. Tesfaye Habtemariam moderated the program. 

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