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MAKONI - Crops for the Future

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Global<br />

Facilitation<br />

Unit<br />

<strong>for</strong> Underutilized<br />

Species<br />

<strong>MAKONI</strong><br />

(Fadogia ancylantha)<br />

enabling deployment of underutilized species


What is Makoni and where does it come from?<br />

Also known as marange, makoni is a herb that grows widely in<br />

Zimbabwe but mainly in <strong>the</strong> Eastern Highlands in clumps on<br />

open woodland or grassland. The plant grows to a height of<br />

around 1 metre. In <strong>the</strong> past, <strong>the</strong> tea made from makoni has been<br />

regarded as a tea <strong>for</strong> poor people who were unable to af<strong>for</strong>d <strong>the</strong><br />

commercial brands. However, in recent years herbal teas have<br />

become popular with high-income earners in Zimbabwe and<br />

consumers from all over <strong>the</strong> world.


PROPERTIES<br />

Makoni tea is caffeine free and is rich in zinc.<br />

> Health<br />

Zinc is vital <strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong> healthy working of many of <strong>the</strong> body’s<br />

systems. It is particularly important <strong>for</strong> growth, healthy sex<br />

organs, reproduction, insulin production and healthy skin.<br />

It is essential <strong>for</strong> a healthy immune system and resistance to<br />

infection. Makoni herbal tea can assist in boosting <strong>the</strong> immune<br />

system and can be used to complement modern medicines in<br />

chronically ill people including those suffering from AIDS and<br />

HIV related illnesses.<br />

> O<strong>the</strong>r Uses<br />

Makoni has an extensive range of traditional uses. Traditional<br />

healers use it to treat a variety of ailments including: boosting<br />

<strong>the</strong> immune system, abdominal pain - including menstrual<br />

pain, backache and chest pains, streng<strong>the</strong>ning bones, building<br />

stamina, antidote <strong>for</strong> poisoning - including snakebite, coughs<br />

and flu - including whooping cough, muscular toning, oedema,<br />

constipation, tropical ulcers, asthma, loss of appetite,<br />

hypertension. It is also thought to have aphrodisiac properties.<br />

The makoni herb is also used to treat diarrhoea in chickens, and<br />

stomach disorders in animals (turkeys, goats and cows).


<strong>MAKONI</strong><br />

GROWING<br />

Most of <strong>the</strong> areas where <strong>the</strong> herb grows have low agricultural<br />

output. The herb is a perennial plant, which lies dormant between<br />

July and October. New leaves and branches appear when <strong>the</strong> rains<br />

begin around October-November.<br />

HARVESTING<br />

The tea is said to be mature and ready when <strong>the</strong> leaves and <strong>the</strong><br />

stem turn yellow between April and July. The branches are <strong>the</strong>n<br />

cut and <strong>the</strong> leaves fermented by sprinkling some water onto<br />

<strong>the</strong> leaves and putting <strong>the</strong>m into a plastic bag until <strong>the</strong> leaves<br />

turn brown. They are <strong>the</strong>n left to dry. Once dry <strong>the</strong> tea is ready<br />

<strong>for</strong> consumption. Sometimes only <strong>the</strong> leaves are picked and <strong>the</strong><br />

branches are left to die. Also, <strong>the</strong> roots, stems and leaves have<br />

been harvested <strong>for</strong> processing into traditional medicines.<br />

PROCESSING<br />

The tea is processed by local producers in partnership with<br />

<strong>the</strong> Indigenous Tea Producers Association. The Indigenous Tea<br />

Producers Association undertakes crushing and testing of <strong>the</strong> tea<br />

on <strong>the</strong> producers’s behalf which enables <strong>the</strong>m to add value and<br />

increase <strong>the</strong>ir earnings from <strong>the</strong> tea.


Contribution to rural and social development<br />

Purchases of this tea help support rural communities earn<br />

a living while conserving <strong>the</strong>ir indigenous habitat. The<br />

international interest aroused by makoni tea was such that a<br />

local Non-Governmental Organisation, Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Alliance <strong>for</strong><br />

Indigenous Resources (SAFIRE), decided to commercialise it.<br />

Thus producers and SAFIRE work closely with <strong>the</strong> Indigenous<br />

Tea Producers Association to ensure that <strong>the</strong> makoni bush is<br />

managed sustainably and that <strong>the</strong> growers receive a fair price<br />

<strong>for</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir tea. A special committee is also responsible <strong>for</strong> ensuring<br />

that <strong>the</strong> tea is harvested sustainably and that <strong>the</strong> quality is of<br />

<strong>the</strong> highest standard. They are also responsible <strong>for</strong> crushing and<br />

sorting <strong>the</strong> tea which is <strong>the</strong>n sold on <strong>for</strong> processing into teabags.


<strong>MAKONI</strong><br />

The exhibits on show are just few<br />

of many commercial products made from <strong>the</strong> Makoni:<br />

Makoni herbal tea<br />

SOME PRODUCERS / RETAILERS / DISTRIBUTORS<br />

> Speciality Foods of Africa Pvt Ltd - www.tulimara.co.zw<br />

> Indigenous Tea Producers Association - www.safireweb.org<br />

Photographs by: Tulimara, PhytoTrade Africa and B. Wursten (www.zimbabweflora.co.zw)


Global<br />

Facilitation<br />

Unit<br />

<strong>for</strong> Underutilized<br />

Species<br />

For fur<strong>the</strong>r in<strong>for</strong>mation, contact:<br />

GFU <strong>for</strong> Underutilized Species<br />

Via dei Tre Denari, 472/a<br />

00057 Maccarese, Rome, Italy<br />

Tel: +39-06-6118-292/302<br />

e-mail: underutilized-species@cgiar.org<br />

w e b s i t e : w w w. u n d e r u t i l i z e d - s p e c i e s . o r g

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