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Moringa and its health benefits

 

Moringa has been called the tree of life for years now. But why has it been called the tree of life? Moringa contains an unbelievably high amount of vitamins and minerals enough to improve the lives of many people around the globe. Moringa contains 9 times the protein of yogurt, 10 times the vitamin A of carrots, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 17 times the calcium of milk, 12 times the vitamin C of oranges, 25 times the iron of spinach. Because of all of these great characteristics, Moringa is known to cure or prevent more than 300 diseases.

It is rich in antioxidants, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid which lowers blood sugar levels. However, this is not the only way in which Moringa benefits people currently suffering from diabetes, it may also help prevent diabetic retinopathy because of its abundance of vitamin A. Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication caused by high blood sugar levels that affects and damages the retina and can lead to blindness if untreated. Type one diabetes may benefit as well because of the vitamin C it contains which can decrease the risk of chest pain, heart attacks and more.

Moringa can also act as an iron supplement for women. Iron is an essential mineral important for proper nutrition and health. Women are more likely to have iron deficiencies, especially women who are pregnant or nursing. Iron can also help maintain a clear mind and help with concentration as it helps your brain receive enough oxygen through your blood and aid in the transmission of nerve impulses. Alike from this, Moringa can lower stress levels due to the high amounts of magnesium that help fight stress by helping your nervous system function normally.

As a result of this, Moringa can help to lower high blood pressure. People who suffer from high blood pressure generally lack calcium, magnesium, potassium, Zinc, and Vitamin E. Along with helping the muscles and nervous system relax, moringa contains vitamins and minerals that work together to prevent high blood pressure by keeping the blood vessels strong and elastic.

Moringa can also give an energy boost every morning. It works both ways by helping you reduce tiredness and fatigue and by giving an energy boost. Moringa contains high amounts of iron and magnesium, which fight tiredness and fatigue along with vitamin A which helps metabolize iron. Although Moringa is caffeine free, it provides the perfect energy boost from its combination of vitamin B as well as magnesium and potassium. The high levels of iron, calcium, and magnesium also help boost your metabolism to keep your body balanced and full of energy.


The Importance of Aquaculture in Zambia

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Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture have come to employ over 41 million people all over the world, with the majority of those people in developing countries. Many people and their communities have benefitted from joining the growing industry, especially as capture fisheries increasingly reach their capacity. For maize-dependent, malnourished communities in rural Zambia, a lack of diversified income and adequate sources of nutrition has created a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Zambia produces the largest amount of fish produce in sub-Saharan Africa, but the reach of fish production has yet to take root in many rural communities. People do not yet have the money or awareness to pursue alternate sources of income and nourishment, but there is massive potential for small-scale fisheries in rural Zambia, and the benefits a family-owned fish farm reach beyond the household to the surrounding community.

Fish are a healthy source of protein and nutrition. It is a great addition to starch-based diets, which is one of the problems facing rural Zambians. As a result of the corn monocrop, people consume maize without many other sources of nutrition in their diet. Consuming fish provides amino acids that improve the protein found in vegetables, and fatty acids, which are essential for brain and body development. This makes fish invaluable for babies, children, and pregnant and lactating women. The consumption of fish is also beneficial for people with HIV, as proper nutrition supports the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs. The rural poor who farm fish for subsistence tend to consume more small, low-value fish, which provide more minerals when consumed in their entirety than the same quantity of meat or large fish.

Fish has become the source of over half of people’s protein consumption in countries like Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Many rural Zambians rely on unstable sources of food which contribute to seasonal hunger and poverty. Family-owned pond cultures have become a sustainable method to produce fish throughout the year so that families will not be as affected by a bad crop. It is also a more efficient use of land and resources than raising cattle or pork. Land that is used to grow fish produces ten times more consumable product than the amount of cattle or pork that would be produced by the same area of land; and fish farming requires less input than raising cattle or pork.

Though small-scale aquaculture systems have been adopted by household producers, aquaculture is generally not included as part of national development plans. There is not enough data on the productivity of small-scale fisheries to monitor their progress or prove their impact. However, aquaculture has clearly increased employment rapidly, especially in Asia, where the industry has grown the most. Aquaculture is particularly beneficial for women, employing millions of women in developing countries, promoting gender equality and giving women greater control over the livelihood of their household.

Aquaculture has transformed communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The World Fish Centre has chosen to focus its efforts in Africa in Zambia because of the clear potential for aquaculture there. The Zambian government recognizes the need for diversified sources of income and nutrition, which will hopefully lead to good regulation and support for aquaculture in Zambia’s future.

Fish farming in rural Zambia will address many of the Sustainable Development Goals such as improved food security, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health, and the combating of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. It will also improve overall nutrition and promote gender equality by providing greater employment opportunities for women. Aquaculture has great potential for future growth in Zambia and Humanity Africa will be right there to support its development.

Sources:

http://www.practicalbusinessideas.com/2012/01/fish-farming-and-agriculture-importance.html

http://pubs.iclarm.net/resource_centre/WF_2546.pdf

http://www.worldfishcenter.org/content/zambia


Zambia in the face of climate change: the rural farmer’s story

 

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There are several development issues that affect rural farmers in Zambia that have an effect on the entire Zambian population. The struggle for food security in the face of climate change has become increasingly important for families’ daily lives. Climate change has caused ongoing problems such as floods, droughts, waterlogging, off rain seasons and more. Without proper irrigation systems and rain seasons falling behind, farmers cannot properly grow their crops and therefore do not earn enough money to keep their families with the proper nutrition.

Climate change has depressed food production and thus affected at least 80% of the population due to food insecurity. As climate change worsens, rains have been pushed back and because rain seasons are crucial for corn, this causes corn crops to fail. These corn crops are essential to the communities because they can only be harvested once a year and their livelihoods rest on it. Their entire food and income source is based on those crops that are now becoming failed harvests. Along with the lack of proper irrigation, due to the depreciation of kwacha, farmers do not have enough money to maintain their crops with fertilisers or purchase new tools.  As a result of this, many people suffer from malnutrition and poor living conditions. Without proper sanitation systems, malaria is more common and therefore death rates are high.

Health and sanitation are heavily affected due to the poor food production. Farmers not earning enough money and although there are resources to treat diseases, such as malaria and HIV, they are not attainable to the majority of the population. Families cannot afford transportation to where medicines and treatments are available.

Humanity Africa has focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals to promote sustainable agriculture and the livelihoods of the poorest populations. Humanity Africa works with community members by creating hands-on training, developing and sustaining markets.

Humanity Africa is devoted and has created several development goals in order to improve agricultural awareness and practices so that the livelihood of people in Zambia is bettered for the long run


Sustainable Development: The Key to Zambian Food Security

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Zambia’s stable political environment and high GDP growth in the past decade has belied the poverty and hunger affecting its rural population.

While many farmers and rural citizens in Zambia seem to eat enough and make their livelihoods off of agriculture, a maize monoculture has led to malnutrition and a worrying lack of diversification. Any environmental or economic shocks have a severe effect on rural farmers who are completely dependent on the single crop. It also means that children, who make up a large proportion of the Zambian population, are not receiving proper nutrition, which affects physical growth and health and also negatively affects performance in school.

Our long-term solution for rural farmers in Zambia lies in the creation of social enterprises. This will allow us to develop and in the process, train farmers to develop their own enterprises—starting from agriculture and spreading into livestock and fisheries.

The cultivation of maize is currently the main source of income for most of the rural population. Since it is the most profitable crop to grow in the short term, other more nutritious crops have been traded for short-term profit. Commercialization of a more diverse nutritional basket will mean more nutrition is available to the farmers and their families, as well as protecting farmers from being severely effected by exogenous shocks to the maize market. Up until this point, Zambian farmers have not diversified their crops because of a lack of awareness, lack of opportunities, and economic circumstances that have pushed their crop portfolio to its current state.

In order create a lasting and sustainable change requires both diversifying sources of income and improving performance on the current activity of growing maize. This requires increasing awareness of more effective and efficient farming techniques, educating farmers about the importance of a diversified nutritional basket, and expanding farmers’ capacity to take on these changes.

One obstacle to social enterprise is lack of access to adequate funds. Farmers can jumpstart their enterprises by taking out microcredit loans to invest in new seeds and technology. Economic empowerment will produce a lasting and sustainable change where aid creates dependency. Farmers will have full ownership of their enterprises.

The aquaculture industry is still in early stages of development in Zambia, but Zambia produces among the most fish in Sub-Saharan Africa and there is great potential for future growth at the commercial and rural level. Pond culture is used in rural fisheries, which are often family-owned and for subsistence. One of the barriers to the growth of fisheries in rural areas has been a lack of technical training, but families and communities that have taken on aquaculture have found it to be a way to make a livelihood and provide a stable source of protein where the land cannot support other livestock.

As Humanity Africa’s own social enterprises take off, our staff will have greater capacity and more resources to train farmers and provide support on the ground. Once operations have stabilised there will be increased opportunities in areas such as poultry and fish farming, or aquaculture.

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