Moringa oleifera is increasingly gaining global importance because of its numerous health benefits and good adaptability to both humid and dry climates. The leaf is reported to have 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas. It also has calcium, protein, iron, and amino acids, which helps the body heal and build muscle.
When consumers think of Moringa it is automatically linked to India because this superfood as it is often referred to is mainly produced in India. It is estimated that India accounts for around 80 percent of the global supply. In sub-Saharan Africa, countries like South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and Zambia are already considered major exporters of Moringa in all its forms. In Uganda, Raintree aims to create market access and improve production to meet international standards.
In 2017, A picture captioned as “one of the proudest moments of my entrepreneurial journey” through my timeline on twitter. It was posted by TeddyRuge and it depicted some of his farm employees reading about themselves in a newspaper. I continued to follow his journey through production, processing and distribution of Moringa oleifera.
Investing and working with smallholder farmers
In 2017, a picture captioned as “one of the proudest moments of my entrepreneurial journey” passed through my timeline on twitter. It was posted by TeddyRuge and it depicted some of his farm employees reading about themselves in a newspaper. I continued to follow his journey through production, processing and distribution of Moringa oleifera.
Like most countries in Africa, Uganda smallholder farmers are the backbone of agricultural production. For most of those African farmers, it is a labor of love.
Agriculture is not an easy venture and it is very challenging in Africa. It comes with a lot of risk, challenges and uncertainty. Uganda is not an exception; about 85% of the population is rural, relying on small farms for food and income.
Using moringa production to empower people, spurring development and creating lasting impacts. Raintree Farms lauds itself as not just growing trees. It is a social enterprise officially registered in Uganda 2015 using Moringa as a catalyst to improve one of the limitations of smallholders farmers in Africa: poor access to land, loans and production yields. To tackle this, Raintree implemented a secure income program (SIP) where farmers with a minimum of an hectare of farm land can earn a monthly wage for growing moringa trees. Furthermore, they are investing in educating farmers on best commercial farm practices that are increasing the average yields of their farmlands and thereby improving the livelihoods of the farmers. Through SIP, Raintree Farms turns subsistence farmers into thriving small-scale members of Uganda’s agricultural economy.
Smart practices paves way for export
With the challenges posed by changes in the climate to food production, the demand for the use of sustainable farm methods and organically certified food has continued to grow globally.
Sustainable farm techniques in a continent that is predominantly traditional is helping local producers in their demand for fair wages and improving the livelihoods in rural food producing communities.
Moreover, 90% of its operation is powered by solar power and employing several hundred of employees of which half of them are women, Raintree has positioned itself as the epicenter for ethically sourced high quality moringa in the continent, exporting certified and organic moringa leaves to North America, the European Union and Japan.
The Raintree story is proof that producing extremely high-quality agricultural products in rural communities across Africa is possible.