German And French Ambassadors Visit WFP Projects In Madagascar

On 15 May, German Ambassador Ulrich Hochschild and French Ambassador François Goldblatt visited number of different projects in southern Madagascar.

Through its school meals programme, WFP provides assistance to some 400 students in Behara’s primary school and 215,000 primary students throughout food insecure southern regions of Madagascar.

"The programme encourages parents to send children to school,” says Behara primary school director Vaha Manirisoa. “At least, the kids will be provided with a meal and that is really helpful, especially during the lean season."

While the ambassadors were visiting the school, the students were having lunch. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, most of the girls say they want to be a teacher and the boys mostly want to become gendarmes to catch dahalos (armed cattle rustlers).

The Ambassadors then visited a reforestation project in which 200 community members participate in a protected area created by the World Wide Fund for Nature. They are planting alluau diaprocera, a spiny species used for construction and the production of charcoal.

"Before, we used to cut down trees without replanting but now we reforest" says Havrelle Zanasoa Marovavy.

For her participation in the project, she receives a family ration from WFP which works in partnership with the.Centre de Service Agricole. Behara is an area where farmers grow rice, cassava and sweet potatoes. But rainfall can be irregular, leading to crop failure.

During their visit, the ambassadors met members of a farmers’ association called Union Tonga Saina, from which WFP procures maize for its local operations. The organization’s members have learned how to improve production quotas. They sell their surplus at a fair price to WFP.

In 2013, WFP plans to buy 1,000 tons of food from small farmers' associations in southern Madagascar.

"I’m impressed by WFP and its partners’ commitment to the fight against food insecurity," said Ambassador Goldblatt.

France has been supporting WFP operations in Madagascar for several years, with contributions reaching US$ 3.5 million.

"I encourage all organizations working in the field of development to continue their efforts,” said Dr. Hochschild.

Germany has contributed to WFP’s relief and recovery operations for communities in Madagascar affected by natural disasters.