To Press Releases listDec 17, 2017
Madagascar’s economy is largely dominated by agriculture and rice cultivation plays a predominant role in the country’s economy. Many families eat rice three times a day, and most of it is homegrown. Unfortunately, the average paddy yields are low, leading to import of rice to meet the local demand.
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 1,000 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.