Moringa, moringa, and more moringa! Several years ago, Lori discovered the nutritional value of moringa (moringa stenopetala Bak.f.) and started to add it to her morning oatmeal and tea. Her white hair is already turning brown (just kidding!). Seriously, during the past few years, the moringa plant has gained global recognition as a wonder plant—used as a highly nutritious food source, for water purification, to replenish fragile environments, and even as a traditional medicine. The moringa leaflets and roots are commonly believed to reduce bacterial growth, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The moringa tree is drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and harvest, and is indigenous to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
Thanks to our partners the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center & Network (HoA-RECN) and the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), 40,000 moringa trees have been delivered to the most vulnerable Hamar and Dasenech families—another 95,000 moringa trees will be delivered this summer. Not an easy task in South Omo Zone, when you have to deal with flooding, rain, and transporting fragile seedlings in hot temperatures over difficult roads. It is a complicated process to find the right number of moringa trees at the right age that are healthy exactly when you need them. We can only plant during the very short rainy season or where there is adequate irrigation.
More than 27,000 vulnerable people, members of the Hamar and the Dasenech tribes, are learning to plant, grow, eat, and sell moringa. They are enthusiastic and want to learn everything about the plant—how to cook it, how to use it to purify their water, how to help them feel better, and how to cultivate and harvest it. And, because moringa is very fast-growing, some enterprising new farmers are already earning money by selling their excess in the market.