Madagascar’s economy is largely dominated by agriculture and rice cultivation plays a predominant role in the country’s economy yet the average paddy yields are low, leading to import of rice to meet the local demand. Many families eat rice three times a day, and most of it is homegrown.
Micronutrient deficiencies are high in the country, especially amongst pre-school age children and pregnant women. Annually, Madagascar loses over US$720 million in GDP to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
In October 2010, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture in Madagascar, the Nestlé Research and Development Centre and other institutions to initiate a bio-fortified rice project. Current rates of anemia among preschool aged children and pregnant women are 68% and 50% respectively.
This project, over the past 5 years, has provided 1000 farmers with new bio-fortified rice varieties that are not only disease-resistant, but which also grow in uplands, thus complementing existing rice cultivation and increasing the yield of the farmers while at the same time enriching their diet. To make the project sustainable in the long-term, we have been developing seed producers who will be able to provide these new varieties to farmers, as well as provide them with the necessary technical assistance such best agricultural practices.
In this context, a stakeholder event was held on the 31st of August 2016 in Madagascar in the presence of Allan Brelu, IOI Cluster manager.
Please find attached a highlight of the event.