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Published on 26/02/2016

Agriculture in dry zones: promising results in Southern Madagascar

The populations in Southern Madagascar live mainly off agriculture and livestock and are faced with recurrent problems of food insecurity and malnutrition related to climate hazards.

Since mid-December, it has hardly rained at all in the Androy region of Southern Madagascar, which has led to considerable losses for agricultural plots. Maize, a crop with low resistance to drought, but which is the main cereal grown, did not survive these conditions. Cowpea, another major crop here, resisted only slightly better.

However, positive results were obtained with certain crops for farmers who sowed at the very start of the rainy season, in October. Despite the absence of rain and the dry winds, quality seeds suited to these agroecological conditions produced satisfactory results (new varieties of millet, sorghum, leguminous crops). These seeds were distributed by the Southern agroecology technical centre (CTAS), a Malagasy NGO created by GRET in 2013.

The 2015 drought had a devastating impact on traditional cereal and leguminous crops. It would have been a lot less serious if appropriate techniques and varieties had been used. This is the approach put forward by GRET via its numerous agricultural projects (Objectif Sud, Soa, Fasara and Psasa), which aim to secure agricultural production to reduce the impacts of food crises and shorten lean periods. The solutions for resilient agriculture appropriate to climate change exist. It now remains to continue efforts to distribute techniques and production of appropriate seeds to generate broader results for food security.

More information on GRET projects in agriculture