Since 1979, IFAD has funded 15 rural development projects in Madagascar for a total of US$265.5 million. With five ongoing projects, IFAD's main objective, as defined in the Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP), will be to promote pro-poor regional development, using participatory approaches, to ensure that the more vulnerable producers and their families can benefit from rural economic growth and achieve better livelihoods.
IFAD's strategy has the following three main thrusts:
- Establishment of management mechanisms for risks associated with production and the land tenure system by improving the access of the poor to resources and services
- Improvement of poor farmers' income through diversification of agricultural activities, development of rural microenterprises and improved market access
- Professionalization of poor producers and their organization so as to include them in economic development and policy dialogue
At the end of the 1970s, the main objective of IFAD's programmes and projects was to increase agricultural production, especially that of irrigated rice and livestock, and to ensure rural inhabitants' food self-sufficiency. The approach entailed rehabilitating rural infrastructure (roads and irrigation systems) and training the inhabitants in irrigation techniques. Starting in 1983, IFAD established itself in the highlands, a densely populated region, in order to boost training services and reintroduce agricultural credit. Lastly, since the 1990s projects have moved out into less densely populated regions such as the midwest and south, with the aim of diversifying agricultural production, increasing rice production, developing new zones in order to reduce population pressure on the central highlands, and helping to create farmers' organizations.
Current projects are more sectorally based and focus on strengthening farmers' organizations, increasing poor people's access to rural credit, improving market access and boosting production.
The recently completed Upper Mandraré Basin Development Project – Phase II (PHBM) managed to boost food production through extended irrigation schemes from 1000 ha to 5000 ha, consequently attaining rice production levels of 25,000 tons per year (doubling average increases in yields from 1.7 to 4.3 tons per ha using SRI techniques). Some 23,723 rural households hence strengthened their food security over an original target of 17,400.
Madagascar: Environment and climate change assessment