Moringa trees against climate change

Moringa trees are being promoted as a dual solution to mitigate the impacts of climate change, while also providing an alternative source of income for families. With wide-ranging nutritional and medicinal properties, and ease of planting, the tree offers many benefits on the individual and community level.

Due to the pervasive energy crisis in the country, the majority of Zambian households rely on charcoal as the main source of energy and income. This has been one of the major contributing factors to deforestation and the emission of greenhouse gases, causing climate change and an increase in respiratory diseases.

In commemoration of world environment day on June 5th, our Sustainable Landscape Management team partnered with ALMUFA to pilot a reforestation project in Munenga and Itebe, two villages of the Mazabuka district, in Zambia. This is a community engagement initiative, which involved planting moringa trees in the two villages to create a moringa value chain as an alternative source of income and a means to mitigate climate change. The project aims to empower the community through transferring skills as well as encouraging inclusivity and the concept of self-sustenance.

Known for their nutritional and medicinal properties, the trees are easy to plant and do not require much maintenance. The planting process includes a water conservation approach that uses only 5 litres of water during planting and 250-100 ml per day afterwards, decreasing as the tree grows and its roots establish. The versatility of the plant provides a myriad of opportunities for the farmers and we hope that, once smallholders realise that they can make money from selling moringa, they will stop burning charcoal.

Beyond the climate benefits, the community is particularly excited about the nutritional and economic benefits they stand to gain from this project. “Moringa has a lot of benefits, it is a herb and cures disease. It is also a relish, as women life is made simpler when looking for relish. We need to plant more trees even as individuals within the community” said Precious Haabasimbi, secretary of Munenga Village.

Solidaridad aims to continue analysing the adaptation from the communities while looking for buyers and off-takers in the hopes of creating local value chains that ensure the sustainability of the project.

Read more about our work in Southern Africa.