Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
The Moringa tree has become a cash crop for the Nyambudzi community in Ward 10, Mbire, where 21 disadvantaged women and men are earning a living from a nutritional garden.
Mbire District falls in the dry ecological region in Mashonaland Central and was removed from Command Agriculture for maize production because of a low and erratic rainfall pattern.
The Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) is native to northern India and is a drought resistant tree. Chairman of Nyambudzi Nutrition Garden Mr Cloud Kanjere said they sell their produce to safari operators and Moringa trees to Carbon Green Africa (CGA) which helped them set up the garden.
“We are 21 members at the garden, mostly disadvantaged women and men,” he said.
“We agree as a group on which plants to have and we have the same beds of each plant to avoid envy and stealing from each other. We are about to plant butternuts and maize and in November we will plant tomatoes.
“There has been great improvement in our livelihoods. I now have livestock through this garden. This is an extremely hot area and we water our plants every day and apply mulching. We also plant drought-resistant crops like butternuts. We also have Moringa trees which generates a lot of income for us. We sell the leaves and seeds.
“There is a nearby dam which was constructed by the army and Carbon Green Africa helped us by setting up a water tank and pipes into the garden. We have water taps at every row and it is easy to water the plants.
“We use part of the products for the nutritional benefit of our family and take the rest to the market. We supply takeaways and safari operators. From the money we get we budget for pesticides, nursery and petrol for our water pump.”
CGA managing director Mr Charles Ndondo said Moringa leaves were used to make tea, capsules while the seed is used for oil.