Squeezing Seeds to Combat Malnutrition and Poverty.

Missionaries from Marino Village, an agriculturally-minded group of children’s homes in Tanzania, visited SonSet Solutions (where we work on loan from MissionGO) and expressed a need for a moringa seed oil extractor. Moringa is, by far, one of my most favorite plants – its incredibly nutritious and flourishes in the difficult growing conditions found in much of the developing world. Moringa leaves can be consumed raw or cooked to provide a nutritional punch (we do the latter in our neighborhood feeding program in Congo) or steeped to make a tea with many health benefits. The seeds from moringa are also very nutritious, containing a high amount of monounsaturated fat and fat soluble micronutrients; however, the seeds are notoriously hard and the oil is difficult to extract.

Moringa seed pods on the tree.

These missionaries from Tanzania have a small, cumbersome, hand-crank oil extractor that they currently use to press the seeds and obtain the nourishing moringa oil, but they were hoping our missionary engineers could develop something that they could use to extract oil on a larger scale – not only to provide the children in the orphanage with additional nourishment, but also to sell at the market to create income for the orphanage and micro-enterprise opportunities for children aging out of their program.  

Our engineers did not disappoint.

The sheller is powered by a bicycle generator.
Oil is extracted from the seeds with the help of a hydraulic ram.
Missionary chemical and mechanical engineers and student interns worked closely with our experts in the machine shop over the past few months and we are delighted to be shipping a prototype moringa seed sheller and oil extractor to Tanzania within the next few days. This sheller and oil press do not require any electrical input (the bicycle powers a generator, which in turn drives the variable-speed motor) and uses the strength of a hydraulic jack (available in-country to most of our ministry partners). We are eager to hear performance reports from the field and continue to explore the options of using this technology-based solution to help our ministry partners around the globe squeeze seeds to combat malnutrition, create enterprise to alleviate poverty, and make connections with the community for the sake of the Gospel.