When Clement founded Green Gold, he began focusing mainly on Moringa production. He saw in this plant the potential to save people in rural areas from poverty and dramatically improve their nutrition. But when they started to establish a productive plantation, they realized that the soil ph wasn’t good to successfully produce crops. Decades of monocultures and industrial agriculture depleted the soil of its nutrients and its capability of hosting plants, sentencing it to sterility. This problem not only affected Clement’s farm but also hundreds of other farmers in the region. Clement had to find a new way to change the soil features and needed to drastically change methodology. That’s how he decided to shift Green Gold to agroforestry, and more precisely to syntropic farming.
Green Gold today is a 1000-acre commercial Moringa farm, that serves also as sustainable agricultural practices playground and education center to share the practices of agroforestry with smallholder farmers. Green Gold also includes a network of 400 smallholder farmers that they train, equip and certify to enable them to sell Moringa products in the national and international market. Some are producers of Moringa seeds, others of leaves. The economic opportunities that Green Gold brought to the region convinced the farmers to aggregate in community-cooperatives that act in solidarity. Green Gold gives 50% of its income to the community cooperative that has then can decide to reinvest this money in development projects for farmer communities or in the company.
Clement’s goal is to be an example for other producers and big companies to show that it is possible to make a profit while restoring the environment. Since Clement founded the company, they experimented with different vegetables and improved upon the basic model. The core crop in the model is still Moringa olifeira, from which they harvest and pre-process the leaves and seeds. They mill the first into powder and press the second into oil. This pre-processing is crucial because it allows not only to drastically decrease post-harvest loss but also to better store and ship Moringa to the international buyers, mostly food companies.
The other elements in this diversity-based system are plantain, banana, jetropha, lucaena (or other nitrogen fixing trees), gmelina (or other biomass producing tree), a variety of perennials, and an animal rearing system consisting of poultry (chickens, guinea fowls, turkeys), rabbits, and cows. The whole system is intelligently designed to both grow quality products and create accumulative systems that could serve a broader international market.