PONGAMIA: THE MULTIFUNCTIONAL TREE

Steve MirandaNews

De bloem van de pongamiaboom

The Pongamia tree is a very multifunctional tree

A Pongamia tree produces nuts annually. The first nuts appear within 3 to 4 years after planting. Slightly less than half of these nuts consist of vegetable oil. This oil is rich in energy and can be used for various things. For example, the oil can be used as lamp oil, processed into soap or converted into biodiesel.

The pulp that remains after pressing the nut for its oil is called the “presscake”. This cake is rich in protein and can be used as animal feed or even human food.

In addition to these products, the tree can also be used differently. For example, the Pongamia tree is a natural screen against wind or shade.

The flowers that grow on the Pongamia tree can be used as compost and the bark for twine or cord. The wood is too soft to be used for anything other than firewood. Which means cutting down the tree is unattractive, especially because of the annual value of the nuts. A tree therefore remains the property of the buyer for 20 years, after which it goes back to the landowners – local ranchers. The animals of these farmers graze among the trees, are protected against wind and sun and on its turn fertilizes the trees. The animals can also benefit from the protein feed of the pressed nuts.

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