Magic Leaves

28 Nov 2014

Sometimes, the most terrible problems have unexpected solutions. For example: in the tropics, there is a miraculous tree whose leaves are extremely nutritious. The leaves of the moringa tree contain more vitamins and minerals than most natural food we know. But that ancient knowledge has faded, and moringa has been mainly used as roofing and […]

Magic Leaves

Sometimes, the most terrible problems have unexpected solutions. For example: in the tropics, there is a miraculous tree whose leaves are extremely nutritious. The leaves of the moringa tree contain more vitamins and minerals than most natural food we know. But that ancient knowledge has faded, and moringa has been mainly used as roofing and fencing material in recent years…

Hunger is a complex issue. There is, in fact, more than enough food in the world. With 7 billion people on the planet – but we can actually produce enough food to feed 12 billion. More and more people are suffering from obesity. At the same time, almost one billion people in the world have only very limited access to all that food, and suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Actually, unlike what most people think, hunger is only rarely caused by droughts, or by war.  The large majority of the billion people who have too little to eat are small scale farmers, living in relatively stable low and middle income countries. Their hunger seems like a given fact of life. But it isn’t. People with hunger are not the problem, they are the solution.

Addressing a huge problem like hunger begins with the realisation that you can actually do a lot with the limited resources that you already have. So it is that my African colleagues of The Hunger Project have organised a major campaign in Benin, to get people back to an appreciation of moringa.

It’s really a miracle tree: it can grow pretty much anywhere. And, after only three months, the leaves can already be harvested. You can use Moringa as you prefer, either fresh, or dried and ground into a powder which can be added to other food or beverages. The nutritional value of your daily meal will improve by leaps and bounds. And, the good news is: the campaign seems to work. More and more people are enthusiastic about adding moringa to their meals – so we will definitely continue to promote it as one of the solutions to ending hunger in Africa.

Now what about you? Do you also need some extra fibre and vitamins to deal with the upcoming cold and dark winter season? Unfortunately for us, the moringa tree is not fond of our chilly climate. But don’t worry. All kinds of shops now sell moringa tea. On the internet you can find loose powder to mix in with your own healthy shakes and smoothies. Or what about ready-to-eat packaged capsules, if you’re just a little less hip? The ever innovative Bodyshop even has moringa shampoo and a range of moringa bath products – so at the very least you can nourish the roots of your hair…
Evelijne Bruning is managing director of The Hunger Project Netherlands: a non-profit organisation committed to the  sustainable end of hunger worldwide.

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