At the beginning of our agricultural projects, Moringa played a significant role. The reason is simple… in the warm and dry Chikhwawa area, it serves as a source of food because the tree retains all its leaves at the end of the dry season when other food is usually scarce.
The Moringa tree is known as Moringa Oleifera, or “the Miracle tree” in English, and it truly lives up to its name as a wonder tree.
Moringa leaves are an incredible source of proteins, vitamins, and essential nutrients. It is one of the few plants that contain all eight essential amino acids. In weight, Moringa has seven times more vitamin C than oranges, three times more iron than spinach, four times more vitamin A than carrots, four times more calcium than milk, three times more potassium than bananas, and twice as much protein as yogurt. It is particularly beneficial for child development and promotes the production of breast milk in nursing mothers.
These figures are remarkably astonishing, especially considering that this nutritious source is available in the Lower Shire area, where other food sources are scarce.
At Ahava, we have two Moringa plantations, and we cultivate them sustainably, without the use of fertilizers or chemical pesticides.
The maintenance of the plantations, including weeding, harvesting the Moringa leaves, and the entire processing, is done by participants in our Food4Work program. These are vulnerable elderly individuals who receive monthly financial support by contributing their work on the plantations and/or at Ahava for two mornings.
The Moringa harvest from our plantations benefits HIV-positive clients and children under the age of five, particularly those showing signs of malnutrition.