Sustainable agricultural and husbandry
The landscape of the Mahafaly Plateau in Madagascar, which includes the Manakaravavy watershed and Maniry Valley, the region’s breadbasket, is notable for its rich biodiversity, its cultural specificity and the dire poverty of its population. The health and welfare of the Manakaravavy River and its tributaries’ watersheds determines the sustainability of development actions in the area.
This project by the WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Programme Office aimed to improve farmers' access to water for production and to better technologies and production resources, thereby enhancing food security, income and access to pasture whilst taking pressure off the surrounding natural environment by developing and implementing a holistic watershed management plan.
With the support of the Swiss Re Foundation, WWF implemented the first local watershed management system in the Mahafaly region. It involved local committees from six villages in the Manakaravavy Valley. During the project:
- A watershed management plan was developed to identify and restore sensitive areas.
- Six kilometres of riverbed were cleared to maintain the waterway's flow, allowing the irrigation of 500 hectares of rice fields.
- Over 100 irrigation kits were installed, allowing women to develop counter-season vegetable cultivation as an income generating activity.
- A grazing area management plan was established, and over 100 hectares of grazing fields were improved with firewalls and hay storage facilities.
- Farmer-to-farmer exchanges, training and demonstration of smart water management practices and the cultivation of adapted seeds were implemented, thanks to a new exchange centre funded by the project. The centre also houses a solar fruit dryer as well as threshing and weeding equipment.