Women in Tsihombe district preparing maize to be used for WFP operations in southern Madagascar (Copyright: Valerie Fuchs)
As a member of a farmers’ cooperative in drought-prone southern Madagascar, Armand Barijaona Ramamonjisoa sold his maize surplus to WFP, a course which improved his family’s livelihood.
The Fikambanan’ny Mpamboly Ianabinda is one of 12 farmers' associations in southern Madagascar that last July guaranteed to supply a total of 180 tons of maize to WFP.
"By procuring food locally to assist vulnerable populations in southern Madagascar, WFP helps low-income farmers to produce surplus food and to sell it at a fair price, thus helping to increase their revenues", says Krystyna Bednarska, WFP Representative in Madagascar.
The farmers' cooperative, which groups together 86 farmers from Betroka district, sold 20 tons of maize out of the 180 tons expected by WFP.
Maize, rice and manioc
Armand Barijaona Ramamonjisoa lives in Betioky with his wife and their children aged eight and two years old. He cultivates maize, rice and manioc and is the association’s secretary.
“I can now buy vital commodities for my family”, says Ramamonjisoa. “I can also afford to keep my eight-year old daughter Arminah in school and improve my family’s living conditions”.
Thanks to this local purchase initiative, farmers who are members of the association can reinvest resources to improve the quality of their agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation canals and dams, and will be able to increase production for the next harvest.
Three years of drought
Betroka is one of the main rice producer areas in southern Madagascar. But three years of severe drought between 2007 and 2010 have weakened the population’s food security and coping mechanisms.
Nonetheless, Betroka’s land is generally fertile. It supplies rice to the neighboring districts of Ambovombe and Amboasary as well as to the capital, Antananarivo. Betroka also provides the southern region with manioc and maize during the lean period. During this October – March period, the food security situation in the south tends to deteriorate.
Some 75 % of Betroka’s 52,000 inhabitants are farmers. Farmers’ cooperatives are considered the most efficient means of marketing agricultural produce. This first-ever WFP procurement from small producers in Madagascar has benefited approximately 2,000 farmers. To achieve the quality standards requested by WFP, the farmers were trained and provided with high-quality seeds. Training and good seeds allowed Ramamonjisoa to increase the amount of land under cultivation from one to two hectares.