Moringa -a green platinum mine in Limpopo

By Ntsako Mbhokota
Limpopo fights hunger with Moringa oilifere, an African indegenous nutritious plant with healing properties. Hard at work behind this project are the women of Tooseng village headed by Woman Entreprenuer of the Year 2010, Mrs Mavis Mathabatha. From this initiative these women have not only earned themselves money but they are also giving back to their community through a child feeding program.
When the courageous Mavis Mathabatha received her first Moringa seeds in 2006, she only had one hectare of land which was also the space she used to plant vegetables. Armed with nothing but the courage and will to help her community, she went ahead and planted the first Moringa trees in the small rural village of Tooseng ‘Ga-Mphahlele’ in Limpopo. Renowned across central Africa for its healing and nutritious properties, Moringa has amazing nutritional benefits; it has 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the vitamin of carrots, 4 times the calcium of milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas and 2 times the protein of yogurt. –This is confirmed by the research conducted by various research institutes of South Africa and abroad.
Three months after planting the first Moringa trees Mavis Mathabatha and her community were soon reaping the nutritional and financial rewards of this dubbed ‘miracle tree’. “When we planted our first Moringa trees I told the women of the village who were helping me with the farming that now we have a green platinum mine in our backyard” says Mathabatha.
The first research conducted on Moringa in South Africa was done by the University of Fort Hare in 2009; they took a sample of the Moringa leaves from the trees in Mavis Mathabatha’s farm to run tests. After the tests were conducted they confirmed that the special tree does have the benefits it is said to contain. “We do have other nine research institutions from South Africa and Universities from the US on board” confirms Mavis Mathabatha.    
Mavis Mathabatha is a retired school teacher with the heart of an angel and the willing drive to help her community. Her dissatisfaction and concern with the mal-nutrition of disadvantaged children in her village is what led her into discovering Moringa. She started educating herself more about Moringa through an online programme from her mentor Lowel Fuglie in Nigeria, which helped her a great deal in terms of understanding the agricultural aspect of Moringa.
Prior to that year (2005) Mavis Mathabatha with the help of other women in her community had already established a community based organization called ‘Sedikong sa Lerato which its aim is to combat malnutrition and food insecurities. This project was started because of the alarming growing number of orphaned children in the village. “We found out that there is a large number of orphans and vulnerable children who are going to school on an empty stomachs, some are also going to bed without food. I decided that the model project that we operate must feed children with two meals everyday including Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, and school holidays as well, basically every day.” explains Mrs. Mathabatha who is very passionate about community development.
Sedikong sa lerato feeds 249 orphaned an vulnerable children every day. Two meals per child and to boost the children’s nutrition Moringa leaves are sprinkled on their food. “Seeing the jobs created for the youth and women of our village makes me feel much fulfilled. Community transformation comes from within and also one must have the passion and determination for it” strongly asserts Mathabatha. 
Not only has Moringa brought food and skills to the community of Tooseng but it also plays a major role in fighting HIV and Aids. So much improvement has been seen within just seven days of giving Moringa to HIV patients. As a way to encourage the well-being of the villagers the Moringa project has distributed more than 6000 seedlings to the households in their village and surrounding neighborhoods for free since its establishment.
Without any substantial funding these women of Limpopo have managed to offer courage and hope to their community. “We harvest dry and package the leaves from the project; -this includes intensive labor practices as we do not use any machinery to grind. We are using the traditional way of grinding (Thsilo le lwalwa)” explains Mavis Mathabatha when I ask her about some of the challenges they are facing.  
“We do not have a proper structure for our orphaned and vulnerable children, caregivers are cooking in an open space and also children are eating under a shelter which is not user friendly in rainy and cold days” explains Mathabatha.
It remains a fact that women produce more than half of the food grown in the world but they do not get any agricultural funding because of the barriers they face including not having access to land, credit or education. The lack of funding should not hinder such a humanitarian programme, the South African public and private sectors need to step up and help such organizations. 
Although they have received small grants from Absa and pick n pay who will assist with the de-bushing and fencing the 15 hectare land that the Moringa project obtained from the traditional head. A lot of challenges remain facing the Moringa business even in their new fam. “For Moringa we do not have proper machinery for agro processing (drying and nursery house) bore and irrigation systems. We managed to de-bush and fence the 15 hectare land but we have not yet started planting because now we are out of funds” sadly explains Mathabatha.
Against all odds In 2010 Mavis Mathabatha was recognized by the department of Agriculture and Farming as the ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the farming and processing sector. In the same year she was also recognized by Agriculture Writers of South Africa as New Entrant into Commercial Farming “I feel very humbled by the recognition” says Mathabatha.
Mavis Mathabatha has plans to expand their client base internationally, “so far they are exporting Moringa to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. We managed to get clients outside South Africa through online marketing; recently I was in Indonesia on a Trade Mission and Chicago for EMIA (Export Market and Investment Assistance) and we are busy with branding and registering with proudly South African product certification, international standards. There is a lot of market internationally and are on the process of going through the necessary procedures.”
In a few years time, there are plans to expand the farm to have a world class agro processing plant in Tooseng village thus creating job opportunities for the youth, women and the public at large. To date the Moringa project employs 22 permanent staff, 30 other temporary people for de-bushing and fencing the new farm.  The project hopes to employ at least 52 people permanently soon after they can start operating, “the laborers  will be entirely from the village of Tooseng and surrounding villages” says Mathabatha. 
The farm that they are currently operating from at the centre is too small and can only produces 10 000 tons of Moringa per year. This is not enough to bring back revenue that can build or develop anything for the community of Tooseng.
But that is soon to change with the opening of a new Moringa farm. On the 8th of March 2012 farmers, government officials, rural communities stakeholders , activists and experts  in the field of food security and nutrition will gather at Tooseng village in Limpopo Province as  Lammangata Moringa do the first planting of organic Moringa trees at the new farm.
Mrs Mathabatha is a true believer in perseverance and hard work and that is shown in her selfless work. Moringa is truly a giving program and should be implemented around other communities of South Africa.
“Negotiations are at an advanced stage to replicate the model project in other provinces. We made major inroads already in the six provinces and hope to start operating by the end of this year on a small scale” said Mathabatha

Share this article on Social Networks facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

56 Responses to “Moringa -a green platinum mine in Limpopo”

  1. I WOULD LIKE TO START UP THE MURINGA FARM, INFACT I HAVE ALREADY STATERD
    PLANTING SEEDS(ABOUT 1200 SEEDS ON SOIL), HOW CAN YOU HELP ME INTERMS OF SUPPLIUS,BUYERS OF MURINGA

    • freddy ntshonono says:

      hi Romeo,
      That sounds great,how much quantities are you willing to sell your produce,quote me 5kg,10kg,and or whatever.will arrange carrier to me,I am in Lobatse,Botswana. Thanx.Fred.

      • David says:

        Hi Freddy,

        Did you find the Moringa seeds / plants / leaf that you were looking for.

        David

      • Noel Naidoo says:

        Good Day
        I have organic moringa powder available in Durban.

      • Noel Naidoo says:

        Good Day
        I have moringa powder available in Durban, South Africa.I am looking for buyers.

      • Jean Marie NIZIGIYIMANA says:

        I am from Burundi and in my environment department, i am planting a very big quantity of Moringa trees.can i partner with you for a market?
        for more information, my whatsap number is:+25779555403

    • NTOKOZO SIBAYA says:

      I am interested to start a business in Moringa. I need any help that you can give it to me. NTOKOZO SIBAYA EMAIL: ndsibaya@webmail.co.za

  2. Our project is Diphororo Agri-project limited in Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality in Tsimanyane village. We are on 318 hectors, lot of water, good soil ph. 22 ha Debushed already sold 3 000 Moringa small trees we need assistance in funding or equipment to take our operations to the next level. Cell 0730847476

    • freddy ntshonono says:

      we would like to start a small pilot project in Botswana,how much will 1000 trees of Moringa plant cost.can you also supply moringa seeds.

      • David Ntimba says:

        1000 moringa small trees (30 – 45cm) will cost you R30,000-00, as 1 tree costs R30-00. I sell them, but out of stock at the present moment. About 3000 small trees will be ready for sale by 20 December 2016. My contact details are 079 337 5687.

  3. Mzansi Agri says:

    We are a n agro-processing co-operative situated in Mpumalanga.We are looking for Moringa growers aroung South Africa to supply us with a large quantityt of Moringa powder.Our email is (mzansiagri@gmail.com) our cell number is 078 257 9185

    Castro
    Chairman

    • senate Hlophe says:

      would like to partner with you I am growing Moringa on 2 and half hectors at the moment but have more seeds. contact me

    • senate Hlophe says:

      would like to partner with you I am growing Moringa on 2 and half hectors at the moment but have more seeds. contact me

  4. Lindiwe manisi says:

    We are looking for market for a moringa .we are staying colesberg NORTHERN CAPE 0786298215 and funding also we are so insper by this product

  5. charles hlela says:

    Hi there.

    l would like to get seeds for moringa tree, can you please help me.

    Thank you.

  6. Ref : Query about Moringa. I want to ask a few questions about Moringa. 1. Can Moringa help me if I am suffering from an HIV induced stroke. I am suffering from stroke and the Doctors told me that HIV has damaged a nerve in my brain. I am currently walking with crutches. Can Moringa help me to walk without crutches again. I am presently taking fresh Moringa leaves, boiling them and drinking the liquid. Is this the right way or can you please inform me of the right way to take Moringa. Your kind response to my message will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in this regard. Hezekiel Mdluli 083 333 3766 mdluli.hezekiel@gmail.com

  7. ji hyeok kim says:

    hi there
    i want import morninga. please contect me please

  8. Hi
    I would like to start the Business of moringa .I have planted few trees at my home garden and I planted others in empty bottles of coke and I just planted seeds as well .; and there is a my family farm; they allowed me to use it to plant moringa trees but I have not yet planted anything ,busy putting more for at least 50 of them inside these bottles.
    I would appreciate if anyone could help me reach my dream . my contact details are :0799 087 088 or 076 8648 255

    p.o box 209
    lefalane
    0741

    boledimampana@gmail.com

  9. nomfundo says:

    Where can one get a moringa seeds?

  10. I have planted a Moringa tree in my home so i would like if somebody can assist or help me to start a business and i have an co-oporative so we cant reach our dream becouse we dont have farm to plant i will appreciate if you may help us my contact details are 0739955409

  11. Phenyo Mokgothu says:

    Kindly provide me with Mme Mavis Mathabatha, I want the moringa street seeds and leaves.

    • maureen says:

      Hi..I know that I’m replying to an old email..I m seeking moringa seeds at a reasonable price..please if you’re still interested do not hesitate to contact me

  12. Tseliso Ernest Lekonyana says:

    We need unused fields or open spaces in the Eastern Cape Province to grow moringa, anyone interested must contact us @ 072 915 9023, rural or urban does not matter.

  13. buyiswa says:

    im staying in the eastern cape.where can i find moringa tree or seed

  14. Md Firoz Hossain Sarder says:

    I am from Bangladesh.I want to work with moringa oleifera.Plz give me some information.

  15. Hi i stay in durban folweni and i want to start planting Moringa and sell it, i need more info as how to start, 0829557198 or 0319001644 thulani

  16. Peace Masinga says:

    I’m looking for morninga agro-processors.

  17. Peace Masinga says:

    Does ji hyeok Kim still need morninga.

  18. lilian says:

    for all of you looking for moringa products, tea, powder, porriage , capsules , juice, sugar,leaves, stems etc, contact me i have all you need.

    • Imraan says:

      Hi Lillian , can you please email me a full product price list and contact details of your company.
      Thanks in advance.
      Imraan

  19. Ernest Lekonyana says:

    We need people who are interested in investing in moringa production, for information on this green gold mining please contact us. We need partnership with people who are willing to make money for themselves. Our contact is 072 915 9023

  20. Dirk Fourie says:

    We grow and sell Moringa trees We are curently selling small moringa tree for R30.00per tree.Minimum order 100 to be collected in White River Mpumalanga.

  21. Dirk Fourie says:

    We grow and sell Moringa trees We are curently selling small moringa tree for R30.00per tree.Minimum order 100 to be collected in White River Mpumalanga. 060 741 3971

  22. mahlatse malema says:

    I have plenty morinka tree nd i want 2 mak a big farm with it but i dnt knw were i cn sell it plz if u hv information conduct mi on dis no 0764785843

  23. Modieng says:

    Hi, I will like to grow Moringa tree in my yard and I’m in Johannesburg. My question is will the tree grow in our cold climate and I also need someone who sells seeds.

  24. Lindiwe Msiza says:

    i am also busy with farming of Moringa currently in my own back yard , so i need people who want to buy from me so that i can grow more the tree grows very fats its amazing especially in hot weathers like Limpopo. contact me 0794379152

  25. maureen says:

    I want to start growing and selling moringa seedlings but I don’t know who to sell to and at what height do people want it to be at.. I’m based in Limpopo Ga_Rakgoadi village

  26. senate Hlophe says:

    Need some one who is interested in producing moringa oil, tea etc to partner with me

  27. The real beauty of this tree is that its drought resistant. Its seeds can also purify water which is literally a life saver in many rural areas.

  28. Hi my name is stive given Pilusa.i know to weark with electrey city nigering .i have ck.I will be happy when u accepts .i have 14 years experience.my 4une numbar is 0761580662760808580760805150

  29. Jean Marie NIZIGIYIMANA says:

    I am planting a big quantity of Moringa trees. can i partner with those who need products from Moringa?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply to Md Firoz Hossain Sarder Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TransformSA - Subscribe

Subscribe - Transform SA Magazine

Transform SA in conversation with Nompendulo Mkhatshwa about student movement.

Photos on flickr

Categories

Archives