KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
THE Engineering Institute of Zambia says the Moringa plant has potential to address the countryâ€™s energy needs due to its fast biomass accumulation potential.
The moringa plant, which is commonly known as the wonder plant, is useful for human and animal nutrition, health, cosmetics, bio-gas and water purification, among other uses.
EIZ member John Ndonji said the moringa leaf is highly suitable for Biogas production, and if harnessed, can contribute to the countryâ€™s capacity to produce its own fuel using bio-products.
Dr Ndonji, who is also JNK Industries Limited managing director, said the abundance of cheap biogas will open many growth opportunities because the product can be used as fuel for both petrol and diesel engines, and as a raw material for a future biodegradable plastic industry.
He explained that when cultivated for seed production, 5,000 to 8,000 litres of oil can be produced per hectare.
â€œThe moringa leaf is highly suitable for biogas production. A hectare of Moringa has the potential to produce more than 4,000 cubic metres of biogas. â€ he said on Tuesday during the EIZ annual Akapelwa lecture on the topic: The potential of the moringa tree for poverty alleviation and rural industrialisation: an engineerâ€™s perspective.
He has since called on Government to engage engineers in identifying ways of harnessing the potential of the plant.
â€œZambian policy-makers and engineers should lead like Brazilians did in replacing a substantial amount of petrol with ethanol. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for developed countries to decide how we can solve our specific problems,â€ he said.
Earlier, EIZ president George Sitali also called for the promotion of the moringa plant as it has potential to contribute to socio-economic development due to its multiple uses.
Dr Sitali said the moringa tree and its by-products can be a tool for rural development and play a role in wealth creation for poor farmers, if harnessed.
â€œIts uses and evidence of its efficacy among resource farmers in Zambia is generally low, Moringa tree and its by-products are a tool for rural development and can play a role in wealth creation for poor farmers,â€ Dr Sitali said.
KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka