The potato sector is very important for the food and income of family farms in the highlands of Madagascar. Since 2008, the proliferation of the Ralstonia Solanacearum bacterium has strongly decreased the national production. At the request of the Fifata group, one of its members, Ceffel association, is working on the development of a healthy seedling chain in Madagascar.
In 2011, Ceffel started the multiplication of healthy potato seedlings to meet the demand of farmers. Faced with ever-increasing demand, the Fifata group decided to mobilize its expertise to help Ceffel professionalize its production. Missions in Madagascar of two French agricultural professional organizations, partners of Fert, i.e. Arvalis Institut du végétal (2015) and the National Federation of Potato Plant Farmers (FN3PT) (2018) as well as the reception of a Malagasy delegation in France in 2019 allowed to better understand the stakes of the sector and to train several Malagasy elected officials and technicians.
With the support of Fert and FN3PT, the Fifata group defined in 2019 an operational development plan to secure the seedling sector:
- Partnership with Fifamanor, an agricultural research institution in Madagascar for the supply of in vitro plants (micro-tubers from plants grown in sterile conditions);
- Multiplication of seedlings during 2 generations (G0 to G2) at the Ceffel experimentation center;
- Propagation of G3 to G6 seedlings at seed farms and multiplier farmers of the Fifata group;
- Wide distribution of healthy seedlings for consumption in the regions.
Throughout production, Ceffel works with Fofifa, a research institute, for actions to prevent and combat the Ralstonia bacteria.
The operationalization of this strategy will allow better access to seeds and an overall improvement in the production of seed potatoes and potatoes for consumption within the Fifata group.
Since June 2020, the Fifata group has been carrying out an economic analysis of the entire seedling production system. This will facilitate investment choices (cold storage…) and decisions on selling prices at each generation for an economically viable system.