A new moringa producer in Malawi is seeking a private equity partner to invest $1.5 million for a 25 percent stake in the company.
Moringa Miracles is located in the southern Chikwawa district in Malawi, it was founded in 2011 and listed in Malawi in 2012. The company is looking to grow its 150 acre farm by four metres squared a year, and has signed letters of intention to supply moringa to Swiss distributor Vitarbo next September.
Church told Agri Investor Moringa Miracles can demonstrate that they can produce 10 tonnes of moringa powder, used as a nutritional supplement in capsules, per hectare. They are also developing oil production.
“We have partnered with 1,700 smallholders and that will grow to 3,400 within 5 years,” said Church, adding that the company is also working with the Shire River Basin Management Programme that has a $125 million commitment from the World Bank.
“Because moringa grows so quickly and is so resistant to drought and even to being sodden as well, it’s the perfect plant to grow where deforestation has taken place,” said Church. He says his company will gift 100,000 trees to smallholders, from whom it will then buy back the seeds the trees produce. Other parts of the plant that are edible, such as the root, will be left to the smallholders.”
Moringa seed can be used to clean cloudy water. It gathers impurities into a solid which can then be removed, although the water would still need to be boiled. It is also highly nutritious and is eaten in Malawi when food is scarce. Church hopes to create a market in the country where the plant is eaten more regularly.
“The time take from turning a greenfield site to a full scale moringa farm is going to be very short, which investors don’t realise,” he added.
“Our preference would be an equity partner, principally because that could also bring in expertise and vested interest. Because we are now small, that would be significant for us,” Church told Agri Investor.