ANTANANARIVO, April 7, 2023 — Madagascar received approximately $227 million to increase productivity and strengthen resilience of rural livelihoods in Alaotra-Mangoro and Sofia, two regions that are critical to national food production. The funding consists of a $200 million credit by the World Bank and a €25 million credit by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement or AFD) that will be approved by AFD’s board in July 2023.
Through an integrated landscape approach, this new project will support community-led restoration of watersheds, rehabilitation and improved management of irrigation infrastructure and services, sustainable intensification of agriculture production, and strengthening of priority agri-food value chains. Overall, the project will reach 150,000 households, including 165,000 farmers who will benefit from the deployment of blockchain-boosted input vouchers and training on climate-smart agriculture and agroecological practices. The project will finance the rehabilitation of 30,000 hectares of irrigated perimeters, 30,000 hectares of watersheds, and 150 kilometers of rural roads for enhanced market access. It will also facilitate farmer-level investments in micro-irrigation and community-driven sustainable landscape management of 61,000 hectares.
“The government is committed to achieving food self-sufficiency and boosting rural sector growth and resilience as highlighted in the Plan d’Emergence Madagascar (PEM). This project is timely because it will significantly improve food production, access to productive inputs, and sustainable management of the natural resources on which farmers and rural livelihoods depend,” said Harifidy Ramilison, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock for Madagascar.
Farming, fishing and forestry remain the backbone of Madagascar’s economy. An estimated four in five people, mostly subsistence farmers, rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. And about the same ratio lives below the poverty line of $1.90 per day. For a sector that accounts for 70% of total employment, its share of total exports (37%) and GDP (29%) is markedly limited. Despite the agriculture sector’s massive socio-economic footprint and potential, sustained growth has been elusive. Among bottlenecks to the sector’s growth and sustainability, which the project interventions are designed to address, are unchecked land use change and associated loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, gender inequality, and limited access to critical infrastructure and services such as irrigation, storage, and roads. These same investments, in complement with other World Bank-financed programs under implementation, will also support the development of more robust, more resilient food systems in Madagascar threatened by climate change.
“The agriculture sector remains the biggest source of jobs for the majority of the Malagasy people. To increase rural incomes, it is imperative to not only improve productivity but also access to critical input and output markets. The project’s integrated rural development approach will, for example, deliver improved seeds, extension, and decision-making tools that will increase producers’ yields while also rehabilitating feeder roads that link them to markets,” said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “Connectivity to markets has been identified by the farmers as key for them to increase their incomes. Thus, the synergies between the broader Bank-funded roads program in the target regions of Alaotra-Mangoro and Sofia and this project are critical to substantially and sustainably improving agricultural productivity and resilience and the incomes of rural communities.”