As the sun rises over the Maluti Mountains, Mohau prepares for his day. A harvester of Pelargonium sidoides roots, he lives in a small village in the high altitudes of Lesotho, where the air is pure and the ground is rich with nutrients. Mohau gathers his essential tools for the day: a small hand-held shovel, a digging fork, a pair of gloves, a water bottle, and a sharp knife. He proceeds to set out on the narrow mountain trails that wind their way up the steep inclines ahead.
As Mohau treks up the mountain with careful strides, he takes in the breathtaking views of the sunrise, and his heart fills with gratitude. These plants are his livelihood, and he is a part of a long line of harvesters who have been gathering these roots sustainably for centuries. Mohau suddenly reaches a spot where Pelargonium sidoides plants begin to dot the slopes. He scans the area and quickly identifies which plants will have mature roots not only by their physical appearance and size, but also by experience and instinct. He knows that harvesting only mature plants with well-established roots is key to ensuring both the survival of the plant and the sustainability of his livelihood.
Once he identifies a suitable plant, Mohau crouches down to gather the first roots of the day. He begins by using his shovel to carefully dig around the base of the plant, taking care not to damage the finer roots or stem. Using a knife, he then slices the large roots carefully, ensuring that he only takes a portion of the root system. He uses his hands to gently loosen the soil and extract the chosen roots, being careful not to snap them. Mohau always makes sure to leave the smaller, finer roots and the stem intact in the soil. This helps to ensure that the plant can regenerate and continue to produce new roots in the future. Mohau repeats this process with multiple plants in the area, being careful not to overharvest in any particular spot. He also makes sure to rotate the areas he harvests from to allow time for the plants to regrow.
Mohau’s ancestors have been harvesting these roots for hundreds of years, passing down their knowledge and expertise through generations. Mohau is proud to carry on this tradition, and he takes great care in ensuring that the plants are harvested in a way that is respectful to the environment and the community. His ancestors taught him to respect the earth and its resources, and he knows that the work he does is vital not just for his own survival, but for the survival of his community.
As the day progresses, Mohau continues to gather roots until the sun reaches its peak. He then finds a shady spot to take a break and rehydrate himself. He reflects on how grateful he is for the day’s harvest, even though it is not always easy, especially in the harsh climatic conditions of this mountainous region he calls home. Mohau is aware that it is these extreme conditions that result in the high levels of actives contained within the roots.
After his break, Mohau returns to the task of gathering roots until late in the afternoon. He then makes his way back down the mountain to his village. On the way, he meets with other harvesters, and they share stories of their days and exchange a few harvesting tips. They discuss the importance of sustainable harvesting and how it has helped their community thrive for generations. Mohau highlights the value of hard work and the satisfaction that comes from providing for his family and community. When Mohau reaches the village, he hands over the roots to the cooperative, where they will be dried and prepared for sale. He is paid a fair wage for his work, and he knows that he is contributing to his community and his country's economy.
Mohau's story is a testament to the importance of sustainability and the preservation of cultural traditions. At Afraceuticals, we draw inspiration from Mohau's story and remain committed to supporting communities like his through responsible and ethical ingredient sourcing. We strive to honor the hard work of our dedicated harvesters by producing high-quality extracts with the utmost care and working directly with local communities to promote sustainable harvesting practices. As we continue to grow, we pledge to uphold the sustainability and ethical principles embodied by Mohau. We are grateful for his and his ancestors' efforts in preserving the natural environment and cultural traditions that make our work possible. Mohau's story reminds us to take a holistic approach to our work, considering the impact of our actions on the environment, wildlife, the people we work with, and the communities we serve. By doing so, we can ensure that our products are not only effective, but also sustainable, ethical, and aligned with our values.