The Moringa tree is an extraordinary concentrate of vitamins, dietary minerals and proteins; its processed leaves produce a strong fertilizer and its roots help fight soil erosion.
In short, the Moring is a ‘magic tree’, whose properties find different applications in development programs.
Project objectives: thanks to the Moringa tree’s virtues, to increase, within two years, the agricultural production to enrich and diversify the diet of 150 farming families in three villages of Mongu’s Western District; to protect the environment by reforesting the area.
150 farmers involved
7,500 seedlings of Moringa Oleifera planted
33 theoretical and practical meetings on the use of the Moringa in cooking, agriculture and to counter climate change
Zambian farmers use the so-called cut-and-burn technique: they cut down trees and burn everything to obtain fields where they then grow the same crop for years until they become unproductive and are then abandoned. This practice satisfies the immediate need, but completely overlooks long-term effects.
Uncontrolled deforestation results in soil erosion: no longer able to absorb the rain, the soil is on one hand depleted of nutrients while, on the other, can no longer guarantee a sufficient water supply for people, fields and animals.
What can you eat when agriculture and breeding become unfruitful?
Cutting trees to obtain cultivable land, cooking wood and charcoal to sell involves a high risk of famine and malnutrition. These conditions are more likely to lead to frequent disease, which, together with increasingly more widespread poverty, difficult access to health services and the spread of HIV, over the years have been leading to a worrying rate of chronic malnutrition in Zambia.
To address these environmental, agricultural, and nutritional issues, we decided to focus on Moringa Oleifera, a tree characterised by an extraordinary nutritional supply and many potential applications.
The firm roots of the Moringa are drought-resistant and counteract the phenomenon of erosion, while the juice extracted from its fresh leaves is a powerful fertiliser that can be used in agriculture. The shredding of its dried seeds and leaves produces a highly nutritious powder that can be used in the kitchen and is also excellent as animal feed; the Moringa is also traditionally used to treat disorders and illnesses. Finally, the tree’s seeds have a strong antibacterial action that can be used to purify water.
Having selected the three villages with the highest percentage of malnutrition, one hundred and fifty farmers, men and women, are trained on all the characteristics of the Moringa tree, its cultivation and its uses.
Each farmer receives 500 seeds and a hoe to set up a nursery near home; the seeds and leaves will thus be enough for his family, but also to sell and expand his plantation. Juice-extracting presses will be installed in every village.
Everyone will then transplant fifty of their own seedlings around the village, for a total of 7500 young trees that will help reforest the area.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the socio-economic conditions and the resilience of the population of three villages in the Mongu District.
In the short term, this means increasing the agricultural production, improving the nutrition of some farmers and their families and counteracting the effects of climate change with awareness-raising and reforestation interventions.
In the future, good practices and benefits will spread to nearby villages.
The promotion and use of Moringa Oleifera, which is the common denominator of all activities, will:
Beneficiaries: 150 farmers and their families (750 people in total).
Moringa Oleifera, the key for improving the food security and nutrition of villagers, and mitigate the climate change effects in Western Province, Zambia.
Federico Gazzoli, [email protected]
January 2017 – December 2018
Community of Namushekende, Kalundwana, Nanjucha