Moringa Tree (called Cham’mwamba or Sangowa in Malawi) is a tree that has multiple health benefits. Research has shown that Moringa leaf powder is an excellent nutritional supplement and can be added to any dish. It has the greatest impact on malnourished children, HIV/AIDS and the elderly. The leaves provide powerful benefits to anyone who is conscious of their nutrient intake. The leaves of the Moringa tree are among the most protein-dense leaves of any plant species. Moringa leaves also contain high levels of vitamin A comparable to carrots, calcium comparable to milk, and vitamin C comparable to oranges, as well as high amounts of other vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
The dream started with June Kim, a representative from United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) who came to Malawi last year, 2011. After she was told about all the four health programs that the Malawi United Methodist church (MUMC) has, she suggested if the health department could consider Moringa tree for a more sustainable nutrition project. The idea was shared with other leaders of the MUMC and land was allocated at Nacholi in Blantyre, the southern part of Malawi and the Moringa Tree Forest project was started.
Knowing that the health department had less knowledge on how to plant the trees, the Opitz family, an Evangelical missionary couple from Germany, who have been in Malawi for 9 years offered themselves to assist with the skill. They also provided with Moringa seeds and cuttings. The overall aim or goal of the project is to prevent malnutrition through the promotion of Moringa forestry systems supported by a Moringa tree nursery.
The problems associated with malnutrition are a priority almost everywhere in the developing world. A failure to address these issues will have overwhelming consequences ranging from health complications to death. By establishing a fully functioning nursery which can provide seedlings to interested members, the nutrition clinic can directly address these priority issues within the Nancholi community. MUMC advertises the nursery’s existence. The Seedlings will be sold at the Nancholi Moringa nursery. The products will be available for free to nutrition clients and for purchase as long as the supply is present.The nutrition clinic will use revenue from the sales of seedlings to purchase the necessary materials for the continuing operation of the project. The nursery will thus have adequate funds to cover recurring costs. Thereby, addressing the economic and health depression in Nancholi.
The first 87 seedlings and 90 cuttings were transplanted and planted respectively, to the site and are doing fine since this is the rainy season in Malawi. There is still land that is waiting for the 200 seedlings that are still in the nursery.
The Optiz family further gave the health department knowledge and skill on how the Moringa leaves are processed.
Leaves were taken into a shed for drying, an area protected from direct sunlight thereby preventing loss of vitamins and avoiding contamination.
The Nancholi Moringa Tree Forest Project is the first of its kind in the MUMC and acts as a model farm where Moringa Tree forestry methods are demonstrated.
It is impossible to list the complete benefits of Moringa, simply because they are too numerous to write out. But Moringa can cure the ill, Moringa can purify water, Moringa can feed the hungry and Moringa is a very efficient weapon against malnutrition.
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo