In a remote community in northern Ghana, where many children suffer from malnutrition, Peace Corps Volunteer Joe Stein, from Bethlehem, Connecticut and known locally as the 'Moringa Man,’ has focused most of his three-year service on moringa tree cultivation through a project supported by Feed the Future.
Also known as “The Miracle Tree,” the moringa is deserving of its popular name. According to ancient tradition, its nutrient-rich leaves have curative powers.
The trees provide a bounty of micronutrients and help to increase dietary diversity in a region where monotone staple diets are the norm.
Joe is working with MoringaConnect, a private agribusiness in Ghana that assists farmers in increasing their income and improving the health of their families through the production of moringa. Through his work, Joe is helping to increase the organization’s impact and efficiency and improve business and farm operations across ten regions in Ghana.
This partnership is a vital part of Peace Corps/Ghana efforts to create opportunities for Volunteers to connect the people in their communities with the benefits of Feed the Future.
In this partnership, MoringaConnect registers farmers, provides moringa seeds and organic manure, and holds trainings on good moringa agricultural practices, including the cultivation, maintenance, harvest, and post-harvest management of moringa. Joe and other Volunteers support MoringaConnect by helping motivate community members to grow and trade moringa for profit, launching new moringa farms, monitoring previously established farms for increased yields and profits, and facilitating nutrition workshops and farmer training sessions for community members.
With the help of Volunteers, MoringaConnect has provided over $60,000 of moringa income in direct support to farmers, and worked with more than 1,500 farmers to plant more than 250,000 moringa trees in rural communities during the rainy season.
With more Volunteers promoting moringa in their communities, the Miracle Tree shows promise of living up to its name. Meanwhile Joe, who just recently wrapped up his Peace Corps Service, is preparing to continue his work with moringa full-time after accepting a job with MoringaConnect.