Miracletree – Marketing the Moringa

Saravanakumaran from Miracletree is popularising the amazing properties of the humble Moringa, a tree common in south Indian states, through a range of diverse products.

What does Sangam literature, an Engineer-agriculturist, and the moringa tree have in common?

At first glance, nothing, methinks.

Talking to Saravanakumaran Rajendran of Miracletree, it all fell into place.

As a child in Madurai, he grew up on a healthy diet of farm fresh produce and Sangam literature. “My father made sure we learnt and appreciated Purananuru and Agathyan’s writings. Somewhere along the way, it all took a backseat. I graduated with an engineering degree and began to work to find ways and means to make the process of using sustainable technology for farming. Solving problems was my goal, not farming”, he smiles.

Saravanakumaran Rajendran, CEO, of Miracletree Life Sciences, spreading awareness on Moringa

So how did Miracletree take root, we wondered. “Using the yield of the moringa tree was my wife Sujatha’s brainchild. She wanted to reach healthy and nutritional food to the markets, which were saturated with produce full of chemicals. She came up with the idea of using moringa to make a variety of easily consumable products, and along the way realized that she needed technical and engineering support for sustained production. That’s when I joined her.”

Now why moringa? Surely there are more easily available, more popular plants or trees you could take advantage of?

“Ah Moringa!” Kumaran sits up straight, ready to enlighten the ignoramus in me. “Moringa and Pana Marai (palmyrah) are the only two trees that are truly deserving of the name. Moringa is called the miracle tree for a reason. Many reasons in fact. Every part of the moringa tree can be consumed; and is so full of powerful nutrients. It has so many benefits that it can feed a 100 crore population on its own. This tree contains practically every compound that the human body requires: proteins, iron, vitamins, calcium, amino acids, ascorbic acids, and antioxidants”, he beams proudly. In fact, a couplet in Sangam literature expounds this theory:

Leaf Powder Tablets

Murungai undavan, verungai povaan. Meaning, the one who eats moringa will go empty handed.” He chuckles, “Unfortunately, it has been sadly misunderstood that eating moringa will render you a pauper.” He explains, “What it actually means is that the one who eats moringa will not need support (a walking stick) towards the end of his life.”

So the real inspiration is Agastya Siddhar? Kumaran reminisces, “In a way yes. Our father encouraged us to read Tamil literature, and teachings and songs by Agastya, ‘Agathiyar gunapaadam’, written more than 3000 years ago, hold good and hold us up even today.” He goes down memory lane, “Sangam literature on the one hand, and the great G. Nammalwar on the other. Back in 2007, I met this inspirational organic farming scientist through a friend. My wife and I attended a three-day workshop when he awakened the farmer within me. He was the one who changed my outlook on agriculture from being purely commercial to using my skills and education to help farmers utilize technology for sustainable farming.”

The rest is history. Kumaran has worked with the WHO to collect and collate data on the moringa tree and its multifaceted uses; helped translate Padmashri Subhash Palekar’s work on Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF); has a JV with over 40 farmers to help them grow and realize the full potential of the miracle tree.

Kumaran and his wife Sujatha cultivate 11,000 moringa and panai maram (palmyrah trees) on about 80 acres of land. Their products are mostly for the export markets, although thanks to popular demand, are now available in select outlets across India. Apart from the food products under the Miracletree™ label, Kumaran has done extensive research on the benefits of the moringa plant. In fact, the data is being used in 20 Indian universities as part of their courses.

Benefits of Moringa

“We began Miracletree in 2009, since I was already familiar with the technology to reach fresh produce to the market. All our products, which are devised and formulated by my wife and her team of food technology experts, have been very well accepted. They are all organic and produced in ISO certified facilities.”

This engineer turned farmer, however, never loses sight of the fact that farming can be sustainable and profitable only by keeping up with the times. He is constantly experimenting and ideating on how to make the best of resources that we are blessed with. He has patents to his name, and several initiatives have brought hope and livelihood to numerous farmers in Tamil Nadu. He and his team have educated many farmers around Madurai, where they have been able to increase their profits from a mere Rs.30-40,000 to a whopping Rs. 1 lakh, in just over three years.

Best selling products from Miracletree

Kumaran has brought many new initiatives to benefit farmers: Micro-gasification, which is automation of gasification for small and medium sized farming. Heat pump technology is another initiative, which uses closed-loop methods to help preserve the nutrition, color and aroma on perishable produce. “This technology can help a farmer charge Rs.50-60 for a bunch of coriander or moringa or mint by retaining its freshness for three years, versus Rs.10 for a bunch that starts drying up the minute it is harvested,” he proudly states.

Another feather in his cap is that he and a team of agronomists, consult with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also an African country for sustainable farming methods apart from methods to harness their natural resources optimally. Saravana Kumaran’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. He has received numerous awards including Tamil Nadu Government’s 2022-23 Best Agriculturist through scientific means award. His research has been published and is open source so it available to anyone who requires the data.

Recipient of many awards and accolades

Our takeaway: Kumaran and Sujatha’s passion and drive has turned the moringa tree into Miracletree™. However, he modestly shakes off my praise saying, “We began working with the moringa tree as a small farming venture, but it literally drew us into the field. Into something bigger than products and profits. The change is not just within us, but within our farming community too. Who knows, this article may spark the interest of someone else out there and newer moringa products may come to the market. We never see anyone as competition, we are always eager to work with anyone who is passionate about farming and farmers.” Kumaran is moving on to the other miracle tree, the palmyra and how the poets of the Sangam age glorified it.

Check out moringa products at Miracletree.in

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