Growing moringa trees for food security

Posted on November 7, 2017

woman standing with her children in front of moringa crops, smiling.

Difficulty during the hungry months

Fidelia is a mother of five and lives on a small farm in Balibo municipality, Timor Leste. She struggled to grow healthy crops and her family suffered during the hungry months of the wet season. Fidelia worried her children would not grow up to be strong and healthy.

Timor Leste has one of the highest levels of childhood stunting in the world – over half of children under five have stunted growth. We teamed up with HIAM Health to run a pilot project in Fidelia’s village to grow Moringa trees, which provide key nutrients for a healthy diet.

Sustainable nutrition from moringa trees

Fidelia participated in a week-long training course at HIAM Health’s Residential Training Centre in Dili. She learned how to grow the Moringa tree and use different parts for cooking. She also learned how to dry Moringa leaves, which she can use to provide vital nutrients to reduce the risks of malnutrition during the hungry months. We then helped her establish a Moringa crop in her garden.

An established Moringa crop requires little maintenance. However, when Fidelia’s Moringa trees were just seedlings, chickens got into her garden and ate all her plants. Distraught, Fidelia contacted the project team and together they built a fence to protect the garden.

Fidelia’s crop is now well established and provides fresh vegetables for her family. Fidelia also dries the leaves to make tea, and sprinkles dried leaf powder on meals, especially rice porridge for her children. With her thriving Moringa crop, Fidelia is confident she can provide nutritious meals for her children, even during the wet season.

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