The Moringa Tree: An Answer To World Hunger?


Edvize Scanizany working with Moringa leaves. Photograph: Mary Boland

Mary Boland
Irish Times

Edvize Scanizany sits on the floor pulling the tiny leaves off the branches of Moringa trees in a shed in Mangily, north of the city of Toliara in southwest Madagascar. Once the leaves are dried, Scanizany will grind them into a powder that will be used as a nutrition supplement in children’s meals in a charity soup kitchen and in several schools run by the non-governmental organisation Bel Avenir.

The Moringa, a fast-growing deciduous tree that originated in India, is planted increasingly in the harsh climates of developing countries for its nutritional properties and durability. “We stir it into jams or into food. Kids don’t like the taste of it – it’s kind of like spinach – so we need to conceal it in something tasty,” says the NGO’s Carmen Ramos Muñoz as she shows visitors around the organisation’s Moringa plantation.

‘Magic moringa powder’
The tropical trees are sturdy, drought-resistant and need regular watering only for the first six months, she says. Posters around the plantation extol the virtues of the green “magic powder”: 1g contains four times more calcium than milk; seven times more vitamin C than oranges; four times more vitamin A than carrots; three times more potassium than bananas; three times more iron than spinach; and far more protein than in eggs.

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