A Spotlight Shines on U.S. – Madagascar Cooperation in Agriculture and Food Security

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The United States is working side-by-side with Madagascar and Malagasy farmers to improve agriculture and ensure the Malagasy people have a healthy, nutritious diet.
The United States is working side-by-side with Madagascar and Malagasy farmers to improve agriculture and ensure the Malagasy people have a healthy, nutritious diet.
US Embassy PAS / Alex Cottin

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 23, 2019

ANTANANARIVO — The United States Government operates a number of projects in partnership with Madagascar and Malagasy farmers to improve agricultural practices, yields, and national food security and nutrition.  One feature of these projects is that they all have American and Malagasy participants working side-by-side to address agriculture and food security challenges.

Representatives from each of these projects gathered today with U.S. Ambassador Michael P. Pelletier, USAID Mission Director John Dunlop, and Marina Rakotoniaina, the Director of Agribusiness for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.

The participants presented their work and the group discussed a number of key issues facing Madagascar’s agricultural sector.  Those issues included how to help farmers reach new local, regional, and international markets and effective ways to introduce new innovations and improvements for farmers accustomed to traditional agricultural practices.  The participants also came together to plant a pair of Moringa trees, the leaves of which are a powerful nutritional food source, symbolizing the enduring cooperation and commitment of the United States and Madagascar to improved agriculture and food security.

The Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MAEP)

MAEP is committed to achieving the goals of food self-sufficiency for the Malagasy people and modernizing the agricultural sector. The ministry is leading a major transformation of Madagascar’s agriculture by integrating innovations and experiences from various fields.  This process involves the public administration and government, NGOs and international organizations, farmers and rural groups, and the private sector.

This transformation emphasizes stronger agribusiness following two approaches: (1) promoting national direct investments (NDIs) and foreign direct investments (FDIs), and (2) bolster agricultural  producers by bringing them together with improved organization, under the new law on aggregation.

The U.S. – Madagascar Partnerships in Agriculture and Food Security

USAID Food For Peace Food Security Activities

For the past five years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded a pair of food security projects, Asotry and Fararano, with a total value of $75 million.

The Asotry project has been carried out by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to reduce food insecurity among communities in the Amoron’i Mania, Haute Matsiatra, and Atsimo Andrefana regions of Madagascar.  Its activities have benefitted over 260,000 people.  Asotry has trained 39,000 farmers, promoted improved hygiene and sanitation for 29,000 families, and rehabilitated 317 kilometers of roads.

The Fararano project has been carried out by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to reduce food insecurity in 464 Malagasy fokontany in three regions: Atsinanana, Vatovavy Fitovinany, and Atsimo Andrefana.  Fararano has been focused on objectives linked to health and nutrition, agriculture and livelihoods, and disaster risk management.  Fararano has trained 35,000 farmers, provided nutritional support to nearly 95,000 mothers and children under the age of two, installed irrigation and drainage services for 2,704 hectares of land, and helped 203 communities become certified as ‘open defecation free’.

Peace Corps Madagascar Agriculture Partnership

Peace Corps Madagascar brings American volunteers to Madagascar for two-year placements to work side-by-side with local leaders, tackling pressing challenges in the areas of health, agriculture, and education.  Peace Corps currently has 35 American agriculture volunteers serving in communities in 13 regions of the country. These volunteers work with Malagasy counterparts to address food production and nutritional challenges in their communities.

The Farmer-to-Farmer Program

The USAID-supported Farmer-to-Farmer Program recruits volunteer, highly-qualified, and experienced farmers and agricultural specialists from the United States for short-term partnership placements in developing countries.  The main goal of the program is to generate sustainable, broad-based economic growth in the agricultural sector.  The Madagascar program focuses on horticulture, livestock, aquaculture, and rice value chains – seeking to improve crop quality, yields, and farmer income.

Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Grants

The USAID-supported PEER program funds scientists and engineers in developing countries who are partnered with U.S. government-funded researchers to address global development challenges.  One of Madagascar’s PEER Grant recipients is Dr. Andrianjaka Ravelomanana, who is working with a team, including American academic and researcher Brian Fisher, to create a new, commercial source of meat protein for Madagascar – one made from crickets.  Substituting cricket protein for cow-based proteins in certain food products can substantially lower the environmental impacts of eating meat and reduce malnutrition in Madagascar.