Adapting agriculture to climate change
Title: Adaptation of agricultural value chains to climate change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Elevage et de la Pêche MAEP)
Overall term: 2017 to 2022
Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries. Vanilla, cloves and lychees are just a handful of the agricultural products that the country grows. Agriculture accounts for around a quarter of Madagascar’s gross domestic product and the sector provides a livelihood for the majority of the population, employing around 80 percent of the active population. People’s dependency on natural resources is therefore high.
The island nation is one of the countries worst affected by the impact of climate change due to its geographical location in the Indian Ocean. Heavy rainfall, hurricanes and drought – extreme weather events are on the increase in Madagascar. The rising sea levels and loss of fertile land are also causing the country problems. Agriculture needs to be adapted to the effects of climate change in order to protect the livelihoods of many people. This will also make long-term development possible in Madagascar.
The country is dominated by small-scale farming structures and people commonly grow crops on fragmented and poorly accessible land. Farmers and the processing industry are poorly organised and, in many cases, work with traditional crop cultivation and livestock farming practices and processing technologies. All in all, the productivity of agriculture remains at a low level, resulting in serious food crises on a regular basis.
The efficiency of the actors concerned has increased in the agricultural value chains particularly affected by climate change.
The project operates on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Anosy, Androy and Atsimo-Atsinanana – dry regions in the south of the country. The project is also cofinanced by the European Union. The lead executing agency is the Madagascan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The meteorological institute and the Ministry of Finance are also key implementing partners at country level. At a regional level, the project is working with the responsible chambers of commerce and industry, local farmers’ associations and private companies, to name a few.
At the beginning of the project, relevant value chains were selected in the three regions. This includes the production, processing and marketing of peanuts, millet/sorghum, honey, ginger, coastal fishing, castor oil plants, goats/sheep, onions and a cluster consisting of coffee/cloves/pepper/vanilla. The aim is to boost the efficiency of the various actors by applying systematic and action-based methods. Supporting a production chain entails making appropriate adaptations to climate change, which will develop the agricultural sectors concerned in the long term.
In order to achieve this, the actors in the value chains will be given better access to agrometeorological and agricultural advisory services. This will enable production systems to be adapted to climate change.
The project also intends to improve the structural framework. This includes developing sound agricultural policies, and organisation and cooperation between the actors, for example. Access to equipment will be made easier and production technology will be adapted.
Lastly, the project will support the introduction of climate risk insurance. This means that actors in the agricultural sector will be able to cover themselves against loss of income caused by climate- and weather-related events.
Selected activities are also set to become digitalised, ensuring that information about the market, measures to help the country adapt to climate change, and climate risk insurance can be accessed by people in more remote areas.
In the first year of implementation, the project supported the meteorological institute in collecting and processing data. A model to determine moisture levels in the soil will be adapted to the Madagascan context and people who work in the Madagascan weather service will be given training. For some agricultural crops, harvest calendars have been updated and digitalised so that farmers can access them on their mobile phones.
The project can also report successes in terms of professionalisation and market access, connecting producers with private investors, for example. This has enabled six cooperatives with a total of 500 or so members to conclude contracts with the private sector. A strategy to support cooperatives has been established in conjunction with the federation of cooperatives in the USA.
A game to raise awareness of insurance against climate risks has also been created. This is available via a hotline. Around 300,000 people played the game in the first six months after its release.