Miracle Moringo and Maya Nut Trees
Through a grant from the LeBaron Foundation, Compas recently concluded a reforestation project that established over 6 acres of shade grown coffee and cocoa trees using the miracle Moringa and Maya nut trees as shade. The goal is to create opportunities for farmers to earn income through the sale of coffee and cocoa beans, and at the same time, produce a nutritious source of food from the moringa and Maya nut trees.
Before the rains came in May, we met with the farmers, including visits to their small farms to evaluate the best area to reforest and plant the coffee and cocoa trees. These areas of land were marked and measured, including grid lines to mark where the rows of shade trees, coffee and cocoa trees would be planted.
We have been marketing the farmer’s Howling Monkey Coffee in the U.S. for several years now. We have also discussed ways that we could market the cocoa beans and the cooking oil and leaf powder from the Moringa trees. Our plan is to sell the cocoa beans in packages that include instructions on how to make your own chocolate. We have experimented with making chocolate with cocoa beans and have been able to produce a natural, organic chocolate with a rich flavor. We hope to sell the cocoa beans to visiting service trip groups and also send them to the U.S. for sale to provide farmers with a profit. We also have plans to construct a solar dehydrator to dehydrate the moringa leaves in order to grind them into powder, and plans to purchase a seed press in order to extract the oil from the moringa seeds. Both the leaf powder and the oil could be marketed and sold here in Nicaragua.
To ensure healthy trees, we prepared organic compost for use when planting the trees. During visits from recent service trip groups from Sparhawk School (Amesbury, MA) and Rock Point School (Burlington, VT), teachers and students worked side by side our Nicaraguan friends to prepare a compost that contained boil (a byproduct of our bio-gas systems), rice husks, plant material, and fertile soil. Farmers are also producing worm castings (compost). This compost comes from the solid byproduct of the bio-gas systems. The worms are fed the manure and they turn it into a rich, humus soil. The compost was distributed to each farmer and used at the time the trees were planted in May.