‘Moringa pastor’ preaches natural health gospel

“I spotted the tree two years ago, but I did not know that it was Moringa until I visited another farmer who told me about the massive health benefits of the tree. I did not waste any time but started to harvest it so that I could have seeds,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo (40), of Rooiboklaagte near Acornhoek, has since planted a small forest of Moringa trees on his 2ha farm, harvesting the leaves to produce a nutritious dietary.

He has more than 700 trees on his farm and 96 seedlings that will be ready for his clients next month.

Nxumalo, who is also a permaculture vegetable farmer, has since earned the name ‘Moringa pastor’ because he always preaches about the plant’s health benefits.

Moringa trees grow fast and their nutritious leaves can be picked within a month of planting.

“What is remarkable about the tree is that it does not require a lot of water. Most community members seldom have access to fruits and vegetables so the children don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy physical and mental development.

“We’re currently busy with research about the leaves of the tree,” said Nxumalo.

“We’re also donating a tree to households, crèches and schools so that we can have healthy children. We always expect them to return the seedling when they start to plant their own trees so that we can also empower the surrounding communities as well.”

The Rooiboklaagte farmer plans to have 5 000 seedlings this year.

He attributed his success to the support of Hoedspruit-based NGO, Seeds of Light. “They supported me with seeds and that’s also why I’m donating the seedlings to my community,” he said.