The promotion of cooperatives improves productivity and profitability of farming in Madagascar
Since 2013, SACAU is supporting farmers in the Bungolava region of Madagascar to get organised into cooperatives with the support of the SFOAP.
In particular, the project supported under SFOAP component 3 – Provision of economic services - aims to mobilize/support farmers into cooperatives to promote maize production and marketing among farmers in the districts of Akadinondry and Ambararatabe.
The initiative, implemented in collaboration with the Coalition Paysanne de Madagascar (CPM) mainly focuses on: (i) the structuring of farmers within maize cooperatives and (ii) the provision of technical support to improve yields and farmers' income from maize production, practicing modern ways of producing maize.
Under this project, one 150 farmers in 3 municipalities were supported to register cooperatives and were given technical support to produce maize. Farmers received training in cooperatives and were supported to process their land certificates. Also, CPM entered into an agreement with a seed producing company to provide improved seeds to farmers on a revolving arrangement. This enabled each farmer to receive 20kg of seeds and give back 50 kg of the produce for the cooperative after harvest. Also, CPM further signed an agreement with the Enterprise Ceralière de Madagascar (ECM) to facilitate marketing of agricultural products.
In September 2016, SACAU’s Capacity Development Officer, Mr Benito Eliasi, visited Madagascar and interacted with some members of the newly established cooperatives. According to him (see the September edition of the SACAU Newsletter here for further details) progress is impressive: “One can observe that farmers have increased their understanding on the basic principles of cooperatives as to where it was three years ago when the project was initiated”. Prior to 2014, farmers worked individually and were experiencing problems in accessing inputs for maize production as well as markets for their produce. Now thanks to the work in cooperatives, farmers are able to aggregate produce and negotiate for better prices. In addition, they can participate in the setting minimum maize prices through the “Regional Maize Producers Platform” of which they are members.
CPM, responsible for allocating markets for different maize buyers, further indicated that for this year farmers are expected to supply maize to a Mauritian animal feed manufacturing company. This is the first time farmers will be selling their produce to such a big buyer.
One of the female farmers Mr Eliasi discussed with, informed him that she is now able to pay school fees for her children and buy basics for her household which was difficult before the project.
According to SACAU and CPM, based on the project potential of increasing productivity and profitability of farming, experiences gained will be scaled-up in other areas in the country.
For more information, please see here.
Photo credit: SACAU