North-East Agricultural Improvement and Development Project

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North-East Agricultural Improvement and Development Project

North-East Agricultural Improvement and Development Project

The North-East Agricultural Improvement and Development Project operated in a region in north-east Madagascar known for its production of vanilla and spices, a specialization that had unfortunately led farmers to abandon food crops, so that food security was no longer assured despite the region’s considerable agricultural potential. The problems facing farmers are linked not only to an insufficient production of rice, which is their staple food, but also to fluctuating income from cash crops. Although trade in the region is well organized, it is controlled by a small number of traders who enjoy too tight a monopoly.

The main objectives of the project were therefore:

  • To increase farmers’ self-sufficiency in rice through intensive irrigated cultivation, which would also reduce pressure on fragile catchment areas;
  • To encourage farmers to group themselves effectively together and process their produce in order to obtain a larger share of added value, especially in the vanilla sector;
  • To reduce the main socio-economic constraints, including defects in the road network and the lack of rural financial services.

The project allowed the development of 5,000 ha of irrigated areas – 167 microschemes (between 5 and 20 ha) that are easy for farmers to develop, manage and maintain, and 10 medium-sized schemes. These actions were accompanied by training in the advanced rice growing system, then in the intensive growing system, research into disease-resistant varieties and establishment of a local training system with 430 groups. Poor rice farmers saw an increase of 170 per cent in irrigated areas that can sustain two growing seasons a year (high intensification). Sharecropping was also reduced by 17 per cent, despite population growth during the project period.

Vanilla production with improved methods by poor producers resulted in an 80 per cent increase in production. By organizing themselves into associations and federations, 2,500 producers were able to advance from simply harvesting to the stage of preparing the vanilla, thereby increasing the added value of their product.

Lastly, the establishment of the OTIV Sava savings and credit network with its 18 branches led to better access to financial services, savings and credit for producers (17,000 members, US$10 million in savings, US$2 million in outstanding loans). Among vanilla producers, for example, access to credit almost doubled.

Source: IFAD

Status: Closed
Approval Date
17 April 1996
1996 - 2005
Agricultural Development
Total Project Cost
US$ 16.88 million
IFAD Financing
US$ 11.7 million
Co-financiers (Domestic)
National Government US$ 3.48 million
Beneficiaries US$ 1.25 million
Financing terms
Highly Concessional
Project ID
Project Contact
Benoit Mr Thierry

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