Madagascar’s young farmers included in reforestation processes and have improved their livelihoods
ROME, Italy: Young farmers in Analamanga region, central Madagascar are now getting involved in reforestation and agroecological practice more than ever before. This is thanks to the organized technical and field trainings on resilient agriculture, water management and soil fertility management organized with the Syndicate des Organisations Agricoles (SOA)-Mitsinjo.
SOA-Mitsinjo is supported by the national syndicate of producer’s organizations in Madagascar. It also benefits from activities organized by the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), a partnership hosted by FAO that aims at supporting forest and agricultural producers’ organizations to increase their technical and commercial capacities so that they can play their crucial role in combating climate change and improving food security.
Young members of SOA-Mitsinjo have been trained on how to seize market opportunities and improve their entrepreneurial skills. The training has given young farmers the idea to start planting both fruit and forest trees, which is helping in the reforestation process in the country. The activity contributes to the Government of Madagascar’s goal of reaching at least 40,000 hectares of reforestation per year. Before the training many young farmers lacked interest in resilient agriculture, not seeing the benefit of this to their community and their livelihoods.
Ratefiarison Edinah from Antanetibe Mahazza village, is one of the young farmers who has benefitted from the training. She says the training has given her insight on a better method to control pests on her farmland and she is now aware of the importance of planting more trees in her community.
Investing in young farmers’ futures
SOA-Mitsinjo farmers organization is in Antanetibe Mahazaza Ambohidratrimo District, Analamanga region, central Madagascar. It was created in 2011 and has 210 members and the majority are women. The organization is involved in production and processing of fruits and vegetables, and members produce 30 tonnes per year. SOA-Mitsinjo has invested greatly to support inclusion of young farmers into agriculture in 11 villages through the organized trainings.
Ever since attending the training, the young farmers have not only developed fruit and forestry plant production activities, but also adopted organic techniques to control pests on their farmlands. This innovation has raised strong awareness among young people about agroforestry as well as agroecological practices. Now young people are strong supporters of reforestation and the fight against climate change.
This process has improved market opportunities for the participating young people and opened doors to new partnerships, particularly with the private sector. The SOA-Mitsinjo farmers organization has gained new youth members which has enabled more people to actively participate in community initiatives such as reforestation, rural track repair, and promoting access to water. SOA-Mitsinjo has also started to develop tree nursery activities.
With the knowledge acquired, SOA-Mitsinjo has set up a reforestation zone in the communities and many young people are interested in agroforestry, agroecology, and the Climate Smart Agriculture approach.
Behavioural change, improved knowledge, and livelihoods
In general, collective action such as reforestation and training have brought about a significant change in behaviour among young people, by generating strong support for actions in favour of reforestation and the fight against climate change, as well as a new desire to solve the problem of access to water.