Here is an excerpt from Roberta’s Zimbabwe Journal for a peek into the work she is doing there.
Greetings from Zimbabwe,
This is a picture of one of the many Moringa plants that was harvested just two weeks ago. Already it has put on numerous sprouts. I suspect it will grow slowly for a while as this is the beginning of Zimbabwe winter. Moringa does not like temperatures below 70 degrees F. Mornings have been cool lately and the local people are putting on their winter coats. It will be the first of August before the weather begins to warm.
Since we do not have any place to dry and process the Moringa, Chris is chipping the Moringa and using it for compost. It is sad to not have a place to dry the Moringa in a sanitary facility. However, building such a building is going to require significant funding. I have several people working on getting funding but, so far nothing has developed. Our goal had been to make our first shipment by the end of April 2015. This won’t happen if we can’t get a building in place for processing.
I have been juggling figures and trying to come up with enough money to buy a truck load of cement. At the moment it doesn’t look like that will be possible. A truck load of cement will equal
600 bags and would cost about $8,000.00 when purchased a few bags at a time. More than a $1,000.00 would be saved by buying in large quantity. Albert needs cement to finish two small offices for himself, Godfrey and Chris, the Agri-tech person in charge of Moringa. The builders need a lot more cement to complete the poultry run.
My main focus, however, is the processing building for the Moringa. With cement HCOC could get the foundation in place and the floor poured for a small building as well as walls bricked up. Buildings here are primarily brick and mortar. Additional expenses would be doors, windows, roof rafters and sheeting. The community makes the brick. Effort like this might encourage some funders to give some support. I am working here in Zimbabwe on that possibility. In fact I have a meeting scheduled for Friday with a potential funder.
Albert has really sold the Moringa project to Rotary here in Zimbabwe. He attended the District Rotary Conference held in Mutare last week. This Rotary District includes several neighboring countries. Albert had everyone talking about Moringa. Albert is talking now about making up packets of ground maize, ground soy beans and powdered Moringa to give to child headed households. This would really be a nutritional pack. It is figured that it would cost less than $.05 a serving to produce. The maize and Moringa is grown right here on site. Soya beans can be grown between the rows of Moringa as an alley crop.
The women on the right are volunteers from the community who come when they can to help with the weeding of the Moringa. Note that a baby comes along, riding on Mother’s back. My concern is for the baby. The position the mother is in when hoeing, leaves the baby exposed to the sun.
Some days, as many as 20 people will show up to help with whatever is happening that day. Other days there may be very few volunteers. As the Moringa fields expanded it will require more and more workers.
A few days ago, some of the local women came and volunteered their time to harvest Moringa. After the leaf branches are stripped from the trees, someone comes along and cuts the main tree stalk to within 10 or so inches from the ground. The cut-offs are then gathered up and run through the shredder. The shredded material is added to the compost as green matter.
When the leaves are dried, they are pounded into a powder. This is done by hand in a mortar and pestle until it turns into a fine powder.