2009 - 2014
Even among the richness of southern African culture and natural history, the island nation of Madagascar stands out. Madagascar hosts some of the world’s most endangered wildlife and its music, cuisine and history are distinctive to the Malagasy tradition.
In the eastern part of the country, these national assets exist alongside comparatively strong agricultural production and functioning markets. Agricultural productivity is in fact critical to the livelihoods of all Malagasies. Natural disasters, poor governance and isolation from improved production techniques have sadly left this unique nation one of the most food-insecure in the world. Today, half of all children under five are stunted and will suffer permanent, irreversible effects of malnutrition throughout their lives.
To address the underlying causes of malnutrition, food insecurity and low agricultural productivity, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Food for Peace initiative launched the Strengthening and Accessing Livelihood Opportunities for Household Impact (SALOHI) program in 2009. Led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and implemented by a consortium of international partners that includes Land O’Lakes International Development, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and CARE, SALOHI is tackling food insecurity in 100,000 households — nearly 650,000 people — across 110 rural communes in eastern and southern Madagascar. In collaboration with Malagasy community leaders, the program addresses a range of development issues, including health, nutrition, agriculture, emergency preparedness and resource management. By using a multi-faceted approach, SALOHI is helping communities to build up their resilience to disasters and economic shocks, while improving food security and decreasing dependency on external assistance.
Land O’Lakes leads efforts to strengthen the livelihoods of 15,000 households, and to enhance the resiliency of 91 communities along the country’s eastern coast. We train smallholders in farming best practices and demonstrate improved technologies, while establishing agricultural producer groups. To date, the program has set-up 743 Farmer Field Schools, where we have trained 13,700 Malagasies in tactics to increase crop production, improve water management and enhance conservation farming methods. We have also established 170 producer groups, which received guidance in agribusiness management and business planning. Our efforts have helped increase crop yields and reduce the “lean” period — when farmers tend to sell assets to buy food — from seven to four months.
Land O’Lakes helped mobilize nearly 7,275 people, mostly women, into 365 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). Groups meet weekly to contribute cash to savings, and determine internal control mechanisms, as well as savings and lending rates. On average, each VSLA has saved $120 — an incredible feat in a country where 70 percent of the population lives on less than $1 per day.
Our technical support also helped clients to prevent and treat malnutrition by monitoring growth and modifying household nutritional practices. So far, the program has trained 605 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in promoting best practices in infant feeding, hygiene and disease prevention.
For a fact sheet on our work in Madagascar, click here.
For more information on this program, please contact:
Chief of Party
In the U.S.: