According to Trees for the Future, a leading non-profit organization providing economic opportunity and improving livelihoods worldwide through seed distribution and agroforestry training, Moringa, commonly referred to as the “Miracle Tree,” provides hope for struggling communities in Haiti. Experts say with the increased pressure for basic resources in a country wrecked by January’s devastating earthquake, the benefits of planting Moringa in Haiti shouldn’t be overlooked.
“In Haiti, we are heavily planting Moringa to help rejuvenate communities because they grow quickly and serve multiple purposes,” says Ethan Budiansky, head of Trees for the Future’s Africa and Caribbean programs. “Moringa is naturally very fast-growing, and it can provide a steady supply of highly nutritious, protein-rich leaves for a community within four months – without even cutting the tree down.”
Moringa works well with different species including gardening and commercial crops like tomatoes and corn. Trees for the Future’s approach encompasses sustainable agroforestry by integrating tree-planting with agricultural initiatives and gardening activities to benefit the trees and increase crop yields.
The “Miracle Tree” not only provides leaves that help combat undernourishment, but it can also help fertilize the soil, restore degraded farmlands, and increase crop yields. Because of the Moringa leaves nutritional benefits, individual vendors in Haiti could also sell it at local markets, providing a reliable cash income. The leaves are rich in beta carotene, iron, protein and potassium and can be used in sauces and to help reduce malnutrition in especially infants and nursing mothers.
“With the Miracle Tree you can sustainably harvest the branches and the leaves which will just grow right back, so it becomes a sustainable resource for communities who lack basic resources,” adds Budiansky. “In Haiti, we are dealing with food security issues and problems caused by degraded farmland on a grand scale and Moringa is proving to be a miracle solution to these problems.”
Since 1989, Trees for the Future has been helping communities around the world plant trees. Through seed distribution, agroforestry training, and in-country technical assistance, it has empowered rural groups to restore tree cover to their lands, protect the environment and help to preserve traditional livelihoods and cultures for generations. To learn more, visit http://www.treesftf.org.