Monday, June 18, 2012

Marula (Maganu) Nuts

Gogo cracking marula using the traditional "big-rock/little rock" technique
Gogo cracking marula using the traditional "big-rock/little rock" technique
Daran & Mary measuring nuts from Macetuka
Daran & Mary measuring nuts from Macetuka
We've initiated another project for economic empower- ment in the areas of Maphiveni and Vuvulane.  Marula season (February-March) typically ushers in a period of drunkenness and debauchery in many of the communities we work in.  Marula is a fruit that  is collected in great quantities and fermented to yield a fairly potent (and cheap) brew.   The nut inside the fruit is discarded to an ever-growing mound.  While difficult to extract, the nuts inside are very light and tasty.  Traditionally, the nuts were extracted to eat or to press for cooking oil.  It seems this is a use that has been for the most part abandoned.  So we thought we would try to develop a market for the nuts.  This could provide an income in these impoverished areas with a readily available and renewable resource.  So far we have place the 100g packs in several shops here in Mbabane (Thorny Bush, PicknPay, Elite Food).  One restaurant is buying them to add to their chicken dish.  We added them to chocolate chip cookies last week: everyone thought they were delicious.  As a by-product, we are trying to develop a market for the cracked shells in the landscaping/gardening shops.

Economic empowerment helps restore dignity and combat the poverty mentality so prevalent in these areas.  We hope with proper mentoring and support, the women and men involved in this project can take it over and run a prosperous marula nut company!
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