Green cultivation of moringa on arid agricultural land in Saudi Arabia
Moringa (Moringaceae family), is a multipurpose agroforestry tree species. The proper methods of its cultivation are yet to be fully explored, although it has numerous economic benefits, can be easily propagated and is adaptive to a wide range of climatic and soil conditions in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. About 45% of the agricultural land in Saudi Arabia is arid. The soils are calcareous, sandy, with a low fertility level and a very low organic matter content. They have a low water holding capacity and high infiltration and evaporation rates and thus the productivity on these soils is limited. Because of insufficient growth of moringa in Saudi Arabia, the methods of green cultivation with microbial inoculants (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, P-solubilizing microorganisms, Trichoderma, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, etc.), organic fertilizers, and mycotrophic green manure plants should be explored for successful plantation to enhance product quality and yield of moringa grown on arid agricultural land in Saudi Arabia. Organic matter will improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil, while mycotrophic green manure plants and beneficial soil microorganisms can help increase plant growth by improving uptake of nutrients, and alleviating stresses like drought, salinity, heavy metal contamination, high temperatures for seedling establishment, disease control, soil aggregate structure, and reducing soil erosion. In Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries, Moringa peregrina is a native species adapted to harsh climatic conditions. The plantation of this species may be extended to other parts of the Kingdom. Another widely cultivated species (M. oleifera Lam.) may be introduced by following green cultivation methods to minimize desertification under changing climatic conditions and to improve environmental conditions of the country.
Mridha, M.A.U. and Al-Barakah, F.N. (2017). Green cultivation of moringa on arid agricultural land in Saudi Arabia. Acta Hortic. 1158, 143-148
moringa, green cultivation, Saudi Arabia