Moringa (Moringa oleifera), a plant of the Moringaceae family, contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants and for that it is called the “tree of life” or as it is commonly known “white acacia”. Moringa is one of the richest natural sources of vitamins and minerals. It is a tree native to India with adaptation to the semi-arid climate, resistant to periods of drought such as those faced by the Brazilian Sertão, where you have a low amount of rainfall. It is a medicinal plant that has a large number of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, carotenoids, quercetin, vitamin C, 27% of protein content, among other nutrients. Some of these components grant Moringa the capacity to be a great antioxidant and to act as an amazing anti-inflammatory agent. For this reason, this plant has been used to treat some respiratory diseases, reduce anxiety, lose weight and even control the concentration of glucose in the blood in diabetic people.
Moringa’s History in Plantus
In 2015, the planting of Moringa oleifera began in a cultivation area within Plantus itself for experimental studies. During this period, success was achieved in the extraction of vegetable oils and extracts obtained from moringa leaf, as well as powder. The technical council of the company Plantus acted in those circumstances and decided to invest in an organic plantation on the farm located in the municipality of Touros/RN. In this period Plantus' organic certification was also obtained. From then on, the commercialization of small batches of oils, aqueous extracts of Moringa and ethanolic extracts that are used in the cosmetic industry began.
Around the year 2017, a large Moringa producer in the United States “Moringa Source” purchased 700 kg of Moringa Oil initiating the export process to the United States. Plantus' moringa oil fermentation technique differs from the others because the vegetable oil is macerated from moringa leaves, giving the oil a greenish color containing the plant's nutrients. After this first shipment, Touros farm increase in production was approved by the company's board, thus increasing the planted hectares.
In 2019, the national production market was surprised by the ban in Brazil, by ANVISA, on the marketing of moringa for food and veterinary use, and it cannot even be used as food for animals. Despite this, Plantus increased production, which was already focused on exporting powder to the same customer, who was already a big buyer of our oily products. However, at the same time, the company was also surprised by the news of the bankruptcy of the Moringa Source company in the United States. At this moment, Plantus received the information that Moringa Source had a production contract with the company Kuli Kuli, which is one of the largest fractionators and producer of Moringa in the world, being present in several supermarket chains, including the largest organic supermarket chain in the United States.
ANVISA ban on Moringa in Brazil created a movement between a group of producers. This movement was created to prove the efficacy and the therapeutic use of moringa, with the help of several documents and research on the plant the complaints were sent to Brasilia. In this group, some producers from the state of Rio Grande do Norte were chosen by Plantus to participate in the process of exportation of moringa to Kuli Kuli. Kuli Kuli started to play the cards more carefully after the problems related to Moringa Source, so it took more precautions when a new contract was on the stage. Despite the few current problems Kuli Kuli had in the last few months they had the decision to request several samples from Plantus and purchased a 20-ton container from Brazil. Those samples were tested, and the final container was not ordered because of some microbiological contamination detected in the samples. The products were in a good state but with the microbiological contamination the container order was compromised. In the course of 2019, a producer from Piaui had in his stock a quantity of powder. It was packed in a cardboard box wrapped with PVC film. This batch was stored in São Paulo with a commercial partner.
Plantus offered this producer to gather this stock and ship it to Kuli Kuli, as the company was open for a new Moringa powder provider. Gathering the stock from Sao Paulo and the ones provided by the farmers it was possible to gather around one ton of Moringa powder. The process of milling used couldn’t protect the powder from the microbiological contamination, related to the milling and drying processes. The nutritional properties of the moringa powder were exceptional but the microbiological contamination in this 1-ton batch was probably part of the shipment.
In this period our supplier from Piaui sent a batch of moringa leaves to Plantus. In plantus arrived around 5400 kg of moringa and from this amount at least 1 ton had fungi contamination. The decontamination process was organized with 4 tons of moringa leaves which was studied as a good amount to be processed..
The decontamination process processes a good amount of Moringa powder, however in the final microbiological test of Kuli Kuli the product was still reproved by the company. For 6 months the samples sent to Kuli Kuli were reproved and the group of researchers that were working with Kuli Kuli got frustrated and the group was destroyed. Plantus took the action of buying a new ball mill grinder, the equipment was a Vieira ball mill, made of steel and Polytetrafluoroethylene, this structure allowed a good level of hygiene to keep the process as free of microbiological agents as possible. All the batches were cleaned and from our producer in Piaui it was possible to gather 2 ton of Moringa powder. The same amount was also gathered from Plantus and the total of 4 ton was exported to the USA. Importunely part of the product was not able to get through the US customs.
Only 3,9 ton of Moringa got into our buyer, this amount was tested again and after a year of not getting our samples reproved by Kuli Kuli, Plantus started a new process of quality control in conformity with Kuli Kuli. In August 2020 an Kuli Kuli and Plantus agreement was approved, and Plantus could finally send Moringa. These 3,9 tons of Moringa were not sent to Kuli Kuli, thanks to expiry date, the almost 4 ton of moringa have been sold to a different buyer. In the same year a production of 1 ton was sent to Kuli Kuli celebrating the first amount of moringa sold directly to kuli kuli attending their levels of quality. This whole process was a great opportunity for plantus to create a high quality system for Moringa, improvements in the drying equipment, in the cropping selection, in the milling process and the increase in the infrastructure with 2 new laboratories just to ensure the quality of our products. In January 2022 Kuli Kuli certified Plantus as their Official Moringa Oleifera Provider.