The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently gathered in New Delhi India. The international conference examined ways how agriculture can enhance the health and nutritional status of poor communities, and in particular, the status of women.
Women farmers produce more than half of the food grown in the world; roughly 1.6 billion women depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Danielle Nierenberg, co-director of the international organisation Nourishing the Planet, points out, that women are often not able to benefit from general agriculture funding “because of the institutional and cultural barriers they face, including lack of access to land, credit and education”. Worldwide, women receive only about 5% of agriculture extension services and own about 2% of land. They face constant obstacles by having to provide for their families while ensuring their families receive sufficient calories, vitamins and minerals to reach their expected growth.
Although the threat remains constant, some rural communities have found hope, referred to by Africans as ‘Nebedaye’ which means ‘never die’. The “new hope” for women and infants called Moringa oleifera, is described by Ms Kali Sichen, Managing Director of the North Scale Education and Research Institute, as the Miracle Tree of Life.
Farmers throughout Africa now plant Moringa, harvesting the leaves and producing a nutritious supplement that promises to go a long way towards eradicating malnutrition in impoverished communities. Children, who consume Moringa leaf powder, increase their weight and their overall health, whilst pregnant women using the powder have recovered from anemia and had babies with higher birth weights. Studies are now examining the possibility of using Moringa to fight the spread of HIV/Aids and to improve the health of HIV infected people.
Alfonzo Riviera, Chairman of the Insight Group PLC further states, “Research has proven that Moringa plays an integral part in the development of rural groups, especially by creating job opportunities for women and rebuilding long-term stability for the community at large”.
The Moringa Tree can be used to cure a minimum of 300 diseases. Moringa contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. With 10 times the Vitamin A of carrots, 0.5 times the vitamin C of oranges, 17 times the calcium of milk, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 25 times the iron of spinach and 9 times the protein of yoghurt, all of these nutrients make Moringa an extremely powerful tool in preventing diseases and the risks associated with malnutrition.
by S. C.
04 April 2011 Teatro Naturale International n. 4 Year 3