CAMA Services, in Cambodia, are teaching locals how to produce and use the nutritious Moringa Oleifera crop and become healthy self-sustaining communities.  CAMA has also established demonstration plots and registered a local moringa business.  These highly nutritious moringa trees provide a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for families struggling with malnutrition, as well as a crop of leaves and seeds that can be sold to supplement family income.  CAMA is also is using moringa as a nutritional supplement for people living with HIV and AIDS to help minimize side effects from the anti-retroviral medications.  In many impoverished areas of the world, religious communities are highly effective engines for progress.  Their moringa tree project has a dual mission.  CAMA is Christian organization that’s spreading their faith, and putting the bulk of effort into feeding, teaching, and loving those in need.

It’s nice to see an organization take agricultural ‘know how’ and a tropical perennial species like Moringa to help fend off malnutrition.  I contacted them about their progress in Cambodia.

They replied:

We are still involved in moringa production, mostly in Cambodia but also in Thailand and Indonesia. The Cambodian project is now completely managed by Cambodian nationals, which is very exciting for us! Thailand and Indonesia are also well on their way as the local workers are learning well in their training sessions.

-CAMA Services

I so was impressed by how this project was using moringa trees to feed and help locals in Southeast Asia that I thought I’d share their video with you.

Another group doing interesting things with morigna in Cambodia is Baca Villa in Siem Reap.  Its focus is on commercializing moringa trees for their bounty of leaves seeds and flowers into products that can be sold on the local and international markets.  The profits benefit the entire Villa which supports many education, employment and healthcare ventures for the community.  There a many other organizations in Eastern Asia, India and Africa that are using moringa as a tool to help villages become self sustaining communities.  I hope to see more in Central and South America as the years go on.  It would be great if we could get a project going on in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Moringa is one of the top crops suggests planting in your garden.  If you aren’t familiar with the moringa tree, let me run down some of the reasons why this crop should be a part of the plan of any aid program that’s working in tropical climates.

Moringa is Highly Nutritious

charts showing nutritional benefits of Moringa
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The moringa has been advocated as an outstanding indigenous source of highly digestible protein, Ca, Fe, Vitamin C, and carotenoids suitable for use in many of the developing regions of the world where starvation and poor nutrition is an issue. moringa leaves, per gram, have seven times the Vitamin C of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, three times the potassium of bananas, three times the iron of spinach (and is often prescribed for anemia), and three times the Vitamin E of almonds. In total, it provides 30 different nutrients needed by the human body.

The Moringa Tree is a Tough Plant

It’s easy to grow and care for.  Once established, Moringa can is drought tolerant and can survive through dry season with little or no water.  Morning is also an extremely fast-growing tree(faster than papaya). It’s also not picky on soil and can grow in heavy clay soils and a range of PH’s.  This makes it ideal for areas that have trouble producing traditional crops.

The Moringa Tree  Is Perennial

This means it doesn’t need to be replanted every year.  Also, once moringa trees establish their root systems, they’re more apt to survive harsh dry seasons that would normally kill young plants.  If properly cut back it can produce and produce indefinitely.