MADAGASCAR – The International Potato Center (CIP) plans to establish a permanent representative office in Madagascar following its new partnership agreement with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The announcement was made in a statement published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Madagascar.

“This agreement will facilitate the implementation of CIP activities in Madagascar,” the statement reads. “From now on, the Center can operate in serenity in the accomplishment of its activities.” 

The partnership is also in line with the ambitions of the “Emergence of the Great South” plan initiated by the executive to improve the resilience of the population of this area in the face of the drought that has persisted for more than 4 years and to fight against malnutrition.

CIP has been working for several years on the promotion of more nutritious and drought-resistant potato varieties in the 3 regions that make up the Great South, namely Atsimo-Andrefana, Anôsy and Androy.

This project builds on their project with root and tuber crops in Asia since 2011, conducted in partnership with the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through the ‘Food security through Asian roots and tubers’ (FoodSTART) program.

According to CIP the project implementation in Africa will follow a similar approach, based on building collaboration among research and development stakeholders to test and scale out suitable interventions that support productivity, develop value chains and encourage business development.

The overall goal of the project is to enhance food security, nutrition and incomes among poor farming households in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Madagascar and Mozambique.

Reviving sweet potato production in drought-affected Southern Madagascar

Meanwhile, CIP has another running project in Madagascar whose objective is to realize the potential of sweet potatoes to build food security and incomes.

The center aims to achieve this through forming effective partnerships among national and international research organizations, and IFAD country programs and investment projects.

By introducing improved varieties (including biofortified strains) and enhanced production methods, the project will directly benefit 115,000 farmers with priority beneficiaries being children, women, and youths.

“The three regions of Androy, Anosy, and Atsimo-Andrefana in Southern Madagascar often face periodic drought,” outlines IPC’s project report.

“Because sweetpotato is relatively drought-tolerant, it is not surprising this crop is the third most important in the area, after rice and cassava.”

Moreover, the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting CIP to address the chronic low intake of vitamin A rich foods by helping to rebuild sweet potato production in nine districts in three regions of Southern Madagascar

One of their focused key outcomes according to the report is to restore and improve access to quality seed for improved, resilient, and nutritious OFSP varieties for at least 80,000 drought-affected households (at least 413,800 individuals).

CIP also aims to increase smallholder farmer knowledge, especially among women (75% of training participants) on how to better grow and store the crop using a new low-cost sand-based method (Double S) to improve food security.

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