Tshepo Ntemane’s love affair with the moringa plant started in 2013. The civil engineer by trade and father of three was visiting friends in Limpopo when he met a man whose age took him by surprise.
“[I was] introduced to it by an old man in Limpopo who looked younger than his age. I then started looking into the tree’s exclusive benefits when [it was] dried. I embarked in research where I tested the moringa’s ability in my personal life.”
After he started using the plant, Ntemane found that his health improved tremendously. He says the plant helped him lose a lot of weight and it improved his asthma. “From having regular asthma attacks, I realised that the regular use of moringa reduced [my] attacks to none. [As we are] speaking now, I’m attack free since 2016.”
Ntemane’s belief in the properties of the plant pushed him into starting his own line of moringa products. Under Moringa Lifestyle, he manufactures tea, capsules, nutritional shakes and other products with the main ingredients being either moringa leaves or seed powder. “Our [plants] are grown naturally without the use of pesticides [and are] washed, shade dried and crushed for the highest quality of moringa powder.”
Ntemane sources his moringa plants from small-scale farmers and backyard farmers in rural areas of Temba in North West. “We develop small-scale farmers, educate them about the importance of moringa, and [about] planting other veggies as a source of food sustainability.”
So far, Ntemane says the reception of his products has been positive. “The demand from people is what inspires me to conduct business. [The] positive remarks and results from clients are overwhelming.”
Setting up an agriprocessing business like Moringa Lifestyle was not easy. Ntemane provides the following tips for aspiring agripreneurs:
Farm, if you can
“Agriculture plays a vital role in food sufficiency. If you get a chance, fertilise the land. Also make sure you understand your plant before [you make it] a product.”
Work for a cause
“Starting a moringa business should be about impacting livelihoods and promoting wellness rather than putting money first.”
Practice good hygiene
“[Moringa] is a miracle tree and it has a lot of benefits and uses. It is easy to grow, but it needs to be processed with a lot of hygiene awareness, because it is a consumable.”
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