The highly nutritious Moringa tree is native to India, but also grows in some parts of Asia and Africa. It can be consumed in its natural form or turned into nutritious powder, drinks and pill supplements for various ailments.

In 2006, Mavis Mathabatha started the country’s first Moringa farm at Tooseng village near Lebowakgomo in Limpopo.

She died in 2018 but the project is continuing under her son’s leadership.

An increase in the number of children who showed signs of malnutrition at Tooseng village, is what  pushed Mavis Mathabatha to search for a solution.

She researched the health benefits of Moringa, which was largely unknown in South Africa. In September 2006 she planted the first trees on a ten hectare farm.

The leaves were harvested and ground into powder, which was then added into meals for the children. Their health improved and the demand increased.

The products are now found on the shelves at many retail shops and even exported overseas.

Francinah Mphahlele has been using Moringa supplements for years.

“Moringa helps in treating painful legs, headache, ulcer, high blood pressure and diabetes.”

There is also a special package used by men in their meals and drinks, it increases their libido.

The farm has eight employees, including Dinao Mphahlele, who started in 2007. He says if weather conditions are favourable, Moringa trees do not take long to grow.

Mphahlele says they have seen a lot of people benefiting from using their products.

“Moringa can be planted using the root or the seed. There are two types of trees. The one with a black bark takes 14 days to sprout, while the one with a white bark takes a week. Moringa is a wonderful plant because it also helps those who are unable to have children. You can also mix it with body lotion for a softer skin. In addition, it helps men suffering from impotence.”

Another worker, Christina Leshilo, says they produce various forms of Moringa supplements.

She, however, encourages people to continue using medication they get from health facilities, while using Moringa.

“It helps a lot. You can choose to use the pill, tea bag, crushed or powdered leaves. The powder is especially good for when you are tired after a long journey, simply add it in a dairy product. People in our village are using Moringa because most households were given the trees to plant in their yards. But, we always advise people to use Moringa as a supplement, to be taken with their medication.”