As part of a new partnership with the association Un Enfant par la Main (UEPLM), Fert and the Fifata group conducted, in the north of Madagascar, between April and September 2021, a work of listening and exchange with the farmers to better understand their needs and propose concrete actions to improve their daily life.

In the northwest of Madagascar, the commune of Morafeno located in the Sofia region benefits from a strong potential for agricultural development (300,000 ha of cultivable land, 35% of which is developed). Fifata and Fert have been working in this region for many years, helping to create, with farmers, credit services (Cecam), an agricultural college to train young farmers, and production support services through the FFTS-Fifata regional federation.

But the needs of farmers are still too important for them to be able to live correctly from their work. This was confirmed by a diagnosis conducted jointly by FFTS-Fifata and Cap Malagasy (an association specializing in agricultural consulting and member of the Fifata Group) in the commune. An average farm lives with 2-3 ha of agricultural land, of which 0.9 ha are irrigated and dedicated to rice production, and the rest to the production of manioc, vegetables and fruit trees. The animals (chickens, pigs and zebus for the better-off) constitute savings that can be easily mobilized in the event of cash flow difficulties.

Concrete actions have been decided with the farmers: to reinforce agroecological practices, to develop small-scale livestock farming, in particular by setting up an animal vaccination service, to improve financial management (training, setting up village savings and credit groups) and finally to support the organization of farmers (training of relay farmers, young people, leaders, etc.). Several of these actions have already started and will be progressively adapted to best meet the needs of producers.

In order to respond more largely to the needs of farmers, Fert and the Fifata Group will be able to rely on the collaboration with the UEPLM Association, which sponsors deprived children throughout the world and supports the projects of the communities around these children. Its mission is to implement sustainable solutions to development problems affecting children and their families in the areas of education, health, nutrition and access to water, with an approach focused on child protection.

The Association has already conducted a broad diagnosis of the socio-economic situation of families in the region and more specifically of the respect of children’s rights. Actions around access to health care and education will be carried out in a complementary manner with the work carried out by Fert and Fifata on the agricultural part.

This new innovative partnership will allow us to respond more broadly to the needs of families, as the director of Fifata reminds us: “it is by providing a set of coherent services to families that we will give them the means to ensure their development”.