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The initiatives by African Development Bank (AfDB) to transform agricultural production methods is getting popular in the region

mada 28jAfDB is taking many initiatives for the agricultural development across the continent. (Image source: CIAT/Flickr)

“Since they built the secondary irrigation channels and concreted the old ones, agricultural production has doubled or even tripled,” said Mamanjisoa, mayor of the Tsianisiha, a rural town in the district of Toliara in south-west Madagascar. About 20,000 inhabitants welcome members of the Federation of Water User Associations, among whose interests the management and upkeep of the irrigation canals feature prominently.

The commercial activity of Razafimandimby, president of the Federation, epitomises the stunning agricultural growth in the region of Atsimo-Andrefana. Razafimandimby practises crop rotation on his five-ha plots such as rice, lima beans, cassava, maize and cotton. And with increased quantities of irrigation water supplying his plot more often, he has been able to double his production. In under five years, for example, he has passed the threshold of two tonnes of maize per year.

While half of his production goes to feed his family and to anticipate future contingencies, the other half is sold to buy livestock - the Madagascar farmers’ preferred way to save. With his additional income, he has been able to send his children to school in Tsianisiha.

By the end of December 2018, the district of Toliara had 74km of canals and 40km of protective dykes covering 5,800 ha of irrigated land, as well as three warehouses.

To support this expansion of local agriculture and to reduce poverty, the AfDB also financed the refurbishment of a 107km section of the RN9 highway. Since then, Tsianisiha has been just an hour and a half's drive from the neighbouring town of Analamisampy. Before the refurbishment work, it took up to five hours to travel between the two towns.

“Since the renovation of the RN9, not only can we sell our products faster, but we can also accommodate more traders and carriers,” said Mamanjisoa, chair of the town council.