Following a recent cyclone, the African Union’s (AU) regulation banning some of Madagascar’s trade products, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) launched an agriculture project in partnership with the island nation.
This, as the country grapples with the high cost of fertiliser and farm inputs, and raging drought and famine in some parts.
The organisation says government representatives, led by Fanjaniaina Raharinomena, the secretary-general of the agriculture minister, visited IITA late in February this year. Raharinomena was accompanied by, amongst others, the national deputy coordinator of Enable Youth, the coordinator of DEFIS, the director of the Organisation of Farmers, and the national coordinator of a SME support programme.
During the week-long visit, delegates learned about disease diagnosis, isolation, and tools for developing predictions for well-adapted varieties in specific conditions at the Bioscience and Genetic Resources Centre.
At the IITA they also visited the Food Science and Nutrition Laboratory, cassava processing unit, business incubation platform, water treatment plant, International Livestock Research Institute, and the semi-autotrophic hydroponics technology for cassava seed propagation.
Demand for climate-smart technologies
Groundnut and maize yields in Madagascar are currently at about one tonne per hectare, which is quite low, according to a delegate. He asked for climate-smart technologies that might be used in Madagascar, particularly with peanuts and maize.
They also wanted to build seed systems for rice, cassava, sorghum, millet, sweet potato, small ruminants, and cows, all of which are areas in which IITA has a lot of experience.
Seeking solutions in livestock and plant production, the current transitioning to one CGIAR proves helpful, says the IITA in a media release. The Malagasy government will leverage both plant and animal technologies developed by different centres in the One CGIAR for adoption.
In seeking collaboration for the youth in Madagascar from various sponsors and international institutions, presentations on youth engagement in agriculture were delivered by ATola Adenmosun, acting head: youth in agribusiness, and Aline Mugisho, executive manager: Innovative Youth in Agriculture Project (I-Youth).
The I-Youth Project sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation, the Start Them Early Program (STEP), the Enable-TAAT project funded by the African Development Bank, and an IFAD-funded program for rural youth, were highlighted. The delegates were encouraged to empower their youth by replicating these programs adapted for youth in Madagascar.
ALSO READ: Madagascar cyclones to result in high food prices, food insecurity