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Chinese-Africa Joint Re­search Cen­ter improves farmer incomes by adding value to underutilized crops

moringa seeds

Sino-Africa Joint Re­search Cen­ter (SA­JOREC) at the Jomo Kenyatta Uni­versity of Ag­ri­cul­ture Tech­no­logy (JKUAT) in col­lab­or­a­tion with Botanic Dia­mond, a Kenya-based com­pany run by Chinese is im­prov­ing small-scale farm­ers’ in­come in Kenya by adding value to plants such as moringa, baobab, and tooth­brush trees into medi­cinal teas, es­sen­tial oils, and tooth­paste.

This was after SA­JOREC with the Chinese Academy of Sci­ences (CAS) dis­covered that Kenyan moringa was rich in sel­en­ium and had great mar­ket po­ten­tial, due to its health be­ne­fits after a farm pro­duce in­vest­ig­a­tion in 2015. They have since got­ten in­volved in boost­ing moringa pro­duc­tion in Kenya.

The two com­pan­ies teamed up to provide free seeds and tech­nical ad­vice to the loc­als. It also bought the moringa after it was har­ves­ted. One of the loc­als, Me­shack Mutevu who planted 200 trees was able to make up­wards of Sh100,000.

“Sino-Africa co­oper­a­tion should not stay in labor­at­or­ies and aca­demic pa­pers. The fun­da­mental re­search should be in­teg­rated into local situ­ations,” said Wang Qing­feng, dir­ector of SA­JOREC.

Related News: Farm­ers re­plen­ish soils, pro­duce own oils with Moringa pro­ject

Related News: Baobab among first orphaned crops to un­dergo ge­netic map­ping

He also said the center has trans­formed a num­ber of Kenyan plants, in­clud­ing baobab, and tooth­brush trees, into medi­cinal teas, es­sen­tial oils, and tooth­paste, adding that many Kenyan farm­ers can lift them­selves out of poverty by plant­ing these plants.

 “the com­bin­a­tion of the CAS’ ad­vant­ages in tech­no­logy and private com­pan­ies’ grasp of the mar­ket will be­ne­fit more or­din­ary Kenyan house­holds,” Said Cui Chaojie, chair­man of Botanic Dia­mond.  Part of the res­ults is the de­vel­op­ment of 15 products out of 11 Kenyan plants.

Also, a doc­toral stu­dent cur­rently at the CAS Wuhan Botan­ical Garden is re­search­ing soil samples taken back from Kenyan res­id­en­tial com­pounds, schools, and pub­lic spaces with state-of-the-art equip­ment in the labor­at­ory.

On her side, Am­bas­sador of China to Kenya, Ms. Sun Bao­Hong com­men­ded that the massive de­vel­op­ment of the bi­lat­eral ties. She ac­know­ledged that com­bined ef­forts from both China and Kenya were re­spons­ible for this.

Related News: Oil maker look­ing for farm­ers to sup­ply them with moringa seeds

This is a clear in­dic­a­tion of China’s will­ing­ness to col­lab­or­ate with Africa and the very prom­ising suc­cess it could bring.

Fa­cil­it­ies like the Wuhan Botan­ical Garden present enorm­ous po­ten­tial for in­di­gen­ous tech­no­lo­gical ad­vance­ments.

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