The Moringa Tree has many names, but the one we feel is most appropriate is “the Miracle Tree”.
Its fresh leaves have:
- 4 x the Vitamin A of Carrots;
- 7 x the Vitamin C of Oranges;
- 4 x the Calcium of Milk;
- 3 x the Potassium of Bananas;
- 3 x the Iron of Spinach;
- 2 x the Protein of Yoghurt; and
- 3 x the Vitamin E of Almonds.
Drying the leaves (which are then powdered to be used as an addition in porridge, tea, etc) only serves to increase the density of its nutritional value.
Imagine how this tree can transform a community where it is difficult to eat a nutritionally balanced diet! Also think about how it can help farming as it can also be used as a dietary supplement for livestock, reducing the cost of feed that most rural farmers cannot afford.
It should also be noted that all the elements of the Moringa Tree can be utilised – the seeds, bark, roots, flowers. Here are just a few more examples on the uses of this tree:
- It is a nitrogen fixer, meaning that it replaces the nitrogen that other crops remove from the soil;
- The seeds can be utilized for water purification;
- It can become an income source – chiefly farming the leaves to be dried, powdered and packaged, and then sold as a nutritional supplement;
- It has medicinal properties;
- It can be used as a fertiliser;
- Moringa oil heals skin allergies, irritations, wounds, and blemishes; and
- The oil is a healthier oil to cook with and is of similar taste to Olive Oil.
Why are we telling you about this plant on our website?
One of the needs the community has presented to us time and time again is nutritional deficiencies. Amongst the issues are: iron deficiency for menstruating women and lack of calcium-rich foods for growing bodies. It is common to see pot-bellied babies and children with constantly snotty noses. In addition, many of the children bear wounds that take a long time to heal due to nutritional deficiencies, increasing the risk of infection. As for the men, it is hard working long days in the garden for your family when your body tires quickly from a poor diet.
Our Moringa Project
Seedlings and trainings
Due to the above mentioned reasons, our first objective in the Moringa Project is to raise seedlings that can be given out to locals in the rural areas we work in throughout Mahagi Territory. The seedlings will be given out at the end of educational seminars to attendees; increasing their awareness of the benefits of the Moringa in order that they will be more motivated to utilise the plants.
We recently plated our first batch of seeds. Another issue we have noticed in the area is that of littering and so we are looking for creative ways of recycling; hence, discarded vodka sachets and used water bottles became bags and pots for our seedlings. Fertile soil was collected from the ministry land down by the river bank and the seeds were donated so this project not only has huge potential, we have also been able to start it at low cost!
We are also looking at how we can start a small Moringa plantation to provide vocational opportunities in the area. We hope to be able to dry and process the leaves to sell in its powdered form, spreading the benefits of Moringa further whilst providing locals with a much needed alternative source of income. To get this off the ground, we will need finance for the initial business costs, such as: registration of a business, a grinding machine, drying rack (traditional style is relatively cheap), and packaging containers as well as a small marketing campaign to sensitise the target communities in its health benefits.
**We are a not for profit organisation and all business enterprises will be to provide vocational opportunities for the community as well as ministry sustainability.
Of course, we have also planted seeds in the compound of the Health Clinic as well as down in our demonstration garden and at the future site of the ministry office in Jalasiga.
Redefined Ministries is also investigating and experimenting with further uses of the plant, which we will then teach to the locals. We believe in the principle of “do first, and then teach”. We also realise that new methods usually need to be demonstrated as successful before people are willing to give up their known ways. Moringa is just one of the items on our list to bring into a demonstration garden, which we will tell you more about as we go along.