Since 1960, the added value per agricultural worker has fallen by 1% a year leading to an increase in imports and a rise in poverty in rural areas. Every year, Madagascar needs to import between 200,000 and 500,000 tons of cereals, accounting for 5 to 15% of its needs. Rice is the main production, but the other cereals (corn), tubers (cassava, sweet potatoes), vegetables, and the various livestock sectors (including the zebu, which is especially important, as well as culturally) lead to diversified production systems.
In 2008, the Government of Madagascar defined an agricultural services strategy establishing service centers and regional development funds to meet the sector’s needs. At the same time, the entire initial and continuing training system in the sector is currently being overhauled. However, the lack of monitoring and information tools makes it difficult to grasp the realities of the sector.
The Support Project for Agricultural Development Policies and Strategies was launched in 2011 and reaches completion in the course of 2016. It aims to improve the relevance, effectiveness and implementation of agricultural development strategies for services, information and training, in order to make the agriculture sector more professional and productive. This project comprises four components for this purpose:
- Develop services for farmers: Strengthening of the network of Agricultural Service Centers in three regions in Madagascar and replenishment of a Regional Agricultural Development Fund in Vakinankaratra;
- Ensure the sustainability of the rural sector information system: use and dissemination of data for policymakers and professionals;
- Support the National Agricultural Training Strategy (SNFAR): implementation of 2-year residential technical assistance;
- Mobilize cofinancing to support the Government of Madagascar.
Since 2011, 45,000 farmers from the Vakinankaratra Region, in 81 municipalities, have benefited from this program. The overhaul of agricultural and rural training is underway in four regions (Atsinanana, Analamanga, Amoron’i Mania and Menabe). A first guide on farming professions has been written and validated by the National Council for Agricultural and Rural Training. Thematic bulletins and notes on rice, corn and cassava have been prepared and disseminated to actors in rural areas, improving knowledge of these sectors.
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