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Moringa: A Miracle Tree ?

We grow a lot of exotic trees and plants (cashew, macadamia, cinnamon, pomegranate, bamboo, dragon fruit, and banana to name a few) but the most amazing tree is one barely known in the Western world called “moringa”. Besides being one of the fastest-growing trees, 3-5 meters in the first year, it is also incredibly useful. A sort of supermarket on a trunk, there are four edible products: pods, leaves, seeds, and roots all packed with nutrition. Beyond edibles, it provides products that can make village life more self-sufficient: lubricating oil (ben oil), non-smoking lamp oil, wood, and treatment for the skin. On top of all that the seeds can be used to purify drinking water! Arguably, the most diverse multitasking plant on our farm.

Considering the need for food security in Africa, moringa shows a lot of promise. Comparing moringa to other well-known nutritional champions, gram for gram the leaves from moringa outperforms them all. For instance, moringa leaves have 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the calcium of milk, 10 times the vitamin A of carrots, and 3 times the potassium of bananas. It is reported by Church World Service that three spoonfuls of moringa leaf powder (about 25g) contain 300 percent of a typical toddler’s daily vitamin requirements. Furthermore, the trees can be harvested year-round, easy to cultivate, drought-resistant, and grow extremely fast.

While we are cautious of claims that promote moringa is a “cure-all” super-food, its potentials should not be overlooked. To be fair there is a lot of research needed to justify the numerous health claims such as reduces blood pressure or improves cholesterol. At the most basic, moringa is a vitamin-packed food to supplement diets. In our opinion, any tree that can provide food year-round at a minimal cost to the hungriest parts of the planet should be subject to massive plantings and major initiatives.

On our farm, we grow moringa as an edible living fence around our property. Last year we planted about 1,000 moringa trees and this year we have seeds to plant at least 1,000 more. We hope moringa can be among the plants we promote for food/nutrition security to the farmers we work with. At the very least, these miracle trees will provide a nutritional boost for us and our workers on the farm.

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