TSIVORY, Madagascar – For years, the “Hery Mitambatra” farmers association in southern Madagascar has struggled to sell its surplus maize harvest. But in 2012, the 150 members sold their grain to the World Food Programme (WFP) at a fair price, thanks to a new collaboration.
“We can buy seeds and agricultural tools with the profits”, says association president, René Savoky.
The reason: a partnership between WFP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that aims to improve revenues of poor farmers in Madagascar’s southern Amboasary and Ambovombe districts.
The partnership offers a boost to growers like Savoky, whose association is based in the northern Amboasary village of Tsivory. Consecutive years of droughts have caused crop losses, further impoverishing local communities.
“WFP is increasing its food purchases from small producers to assist the most vulnerable communities, especially those in the drought-affected southern parts of Madagascar”, says WFP Representative in Madagascar Willem van Milink. “By procuring food locally, including in Amboasary, WFP contributes to the country’s agricultural development and helps poor farming households find new market opportunities”.
Farmers associations that sold maize to WFP were trained by IFAD on more effective agricultural and post-harvest practices. They also received better-quality seeds and help in forming associations that allow them to market crops more easily.
Amboasary-area farmers generally grow rice, maize, manioc and peanuts. The area, particularly in the northern part around Tsivory, is hilly and slightly humid, with the Mandrare River running through it. As a result, it is more fertile than other regions of drought-prone southern Madagascar, and boasts higher agricultural production, especially of maize.
“The project contributes to improving vulnerable households’ revenues”, says another area farmer, Maka. Like many in southern Madagascar, Maka goes by only one name. He grows rice, maize and manioc on his three-hectare farm.
Collaboration between WFP and IFAD enable poor farming households to increase their revenues from the crop sales. “I can keep sending my children to school, and buy furniture and new agricultural tools”, Maka adds.