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Earth Institute Research Projects

Adaptation of Agricultural Value Chains to Climate Change (PrAda)

Lead PI: Dr. Daniel Osgood

Unit Affiliation: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

December 2019 - May 2021
Active
Africa ; Madagascar
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries. Vanilla, cloves and lychees are just a handful of the agricultural products that the country grows. Agriculture accounts for around a quarter of Madagascar’s gross domestic product and the sector provides a livelihood for the majority of the population, employing around 80 percent of the active population. People’s dependency on natural resources is therefore high.

The island nation is one of the countries worst affected by the impact of climate change due to its geographical location in the Indian Ocean. Heavy rainfall, hurricanes and drought – extreme weather events are on the increase in Madagascar. The rising sea levels and loss of fertile land are also causing the country problems. Agriculture needs to be adapted to the effects of climate change in order to protect the livelihoods of many people. This will also make long-term development possible in Madagascar.

The country is dominated by small-scale farming structures and people commonly grow crops on fragmented and poorly accessible land. Farmers and the processing industry are poorly organised and, in many cases, work with traditional crop cultivation and livestock farming practices and processing technologies. All in all, the productivity of agriculture remains at a low level, resulting in serious food crises on a regular basis. The efficiency of the actors concerned has increased in the agricultural value chains particularly affected by climate change.

OUTCOMES: In the first year of implementation, the project supported the meteorological institute in collecting and processing data. A model to determine moisture levels in the soil will be adapted to the Madagascan context and people who work in the Madagascan weather service will be given training. For some agricultural crops, harvest calendars have been updated and digitalised so that farmers can access them on their mobile phones.

The project can also report successes in terms of professionalisation and market access, connecting producers with private investors, for example. This has enabled six cooperatives with a total of 500 or so members to conclude contracts with the private sector. A strategy to support cooperatives has been established in conjunction with the federation of cooperatives in the USA.

A game to raise awareness of insurance against climate risks has also been created. This is available via a hotline. Around 300,000 people played the game in the first six months after its release.