The moringa tree is a fast-growing and drought resistant plant. Both its leaves and seeds can be used in a variety of ways, in particular as a food supplement, to treat contaminated water, or in cosmetic products. Moringa is rich in vitamins, magnesium, protein as well as other nutrients and is enjoying a steady growth in demand worldwide. This makes the plant suitable both as a source for ensuring food security and for generating an income.
The present project focuses on various different themes: In a first project component, around 3,500 vulnerable people are made aware of the numerous benefits of the moringa tree both for health and nutrition. Selected prisons, schools and health centres are encouraged to improve the quality of their food provision with moringa. Furthermore, public moringa information events in the same institutions serve to make a broader public aware of the advantages of the consumption and production of moringa.
Moreover, moringa trees are planted in the gardens of schools and health centres. These are used, on the one hand, for demonstration purposes regarding the cultivation and harvesting of the individual components, and on the other hand they supply the institutions concerned with moringa products, thus enabling them to provide a healthy diet. The gardens are managed by trained committees and clubs. In addition, large moringa plantations are created on the estates belonging to the prisons. This benefits the prison inmates. They can build up savings by working on the plantations, which will make their socio-economic reintegration easier after their stay in prison. In addition, they learn about setting up their own moringa business after their release.
In order to complete the value chain, Caritas Switzerland, working with its partners in Gulu and Soroti, constructs premises for the manufacture of moringa products and equips each of them with an oil press, pulverisation machines and other technical aids. In Gulu, a drying chamber will also be built. Processing the moringa components in these production facilities creates jobs and thus additional income-generating opportunities for the local population, while at the same time the profits from the product sales flow back into the project.
Caritas Switzerland’s partner organisations train committee members and prison staff as trainers. These trained committee members and prison employees then conduct training sessions for those interested, which aim to give them the basic skills to set up their own moringa business. The training sessions deal with all important aspects, from sowing via cultivation to processing, packaging, storage and marketing of the moringa products. The training is closely monitored by the partner organisations’ experts.
An added benefit is that the project strengthens the structures of the local partner organisations. They learn about implementing quality control of the moringa products and complying with important hygiene standards and international certification, and conduct market analyses. In addition, their expertise regarding the establishment of a social enterprise is strengthened, their knowledge about moringa cultivation broadened, and their organisational structure is improved.