High-level consultations pave the way to enhanced food and nutrition-security for Madagascar


12 July 2022, Antananarivo, Madagascar ⁠— Opportunities to address the needs and priorities of Madagascar with respect to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, water management, climate change, and the country’s mission to contribute effectively to food and nutrition security of the Indian Ocean region, were on the agenda on 1 July 2022, when the Secretary General to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Ms. Espérance Pelandroy, met with Dr. Claudia Sadoff, CGIAR Executive Management Team Convener and Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, and Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, CGIAR Regional Director for East and Southern Africa and AfricaRice Director General.


The meeting with the Secretary General of the Presidency was the high point of a week of intensive and productive consultations among CGIAR leadership, government ministries, research partners and funders in Madagascar. It kicked off with a meeting on 27 June 2022, with the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr Harifidy Ramilison, who is currently the Chairperson of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers. The collective goal of the consultations was the co-creation of a country-specific research and development agenda for enhancing nutrition and food security and a profitable, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agricultural sector for the people of Madagascar.


Despite its wealth of land and water resources and biodiversity, Madagascar faces many challenges in making full use of these resources to ensure food self-sufficiency. These challenges have been further aggravated by climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent war in Ukraine that has driven up prices for fertilizer, fuel, and food, particularly wheat. In fact, East and Southern Africa is a climate hotspot, with more than US$45 billion in agricultural production at risk from rising temperature, shorter growing seasons, and more extreme droughts and floods. Many of the affected areas are already suffering from a high level of hunger and malnutrition, with the highest burden experienced by women and youth from marginalized and vulnerable communities.


The next decade will therefore be critical for transforming food, land, and water systems in Madagascar, other countries of the Indian Ocean Commission, and the rest of East and Southern Africa. The region’s agribusiness ecosystem is indeed a vital engine for agricultural and economic development. Investments in the generation of climate-smart innovations, developing supportive environments and strengthening capacities of women and youth will be essential in driving sustainable growth that benefits all.


This challenging context framed the stakeholder dialogues held between 27 June and 1 July Antananarivo, Madagascar, building on earlier stakeholder consultations held in the country to introduce the CGIAR’s transformation process for greater integration and impact. The Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Madagascar recognized that a more integrated CGIAR offers strong opportunities for responding more effectively to the needs of Madagascar. He highlighted the need for a more complementary research system that would reinforce synergies and increase efficiencies. He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, in its coordination role, will ensure that the interactions between the different research institutions and development partners in Madagascar will be aligned to the agricultural strategies of the country, leading to the implementation of actions and delivery of products that will contribute to attaining food self-sufficiency for Madagascar as well as countries in the Indian Ocean Commission.


Following her interactions with the Secretary General, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, and all the CGIAR research staff in Madagascar representing three CGIAR Centers, AfricaRice, the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Claudia Sadoff said,I would like to share how inspiring the visit was, to see the three CGIAR centers here working so closely together with the government and other development agencies across an extraordinary range of challenges, with such tangible and innovative outputs. And it is exciting to think how much more we will be able to offer as One CGIAR.”


Dr Harold Roy Macauley indicated that the CGIAR Centers in the country are already responding to some of the complex challenges in Madagascar. “The feedback from all the meetings substantiates that there is a clear scope for One CGIAR to address the needs of the country in a more coordinated and consolidated manner with the national research and innovation institutions in Madagascar, including FOFIFA, the National Center for Applied Research on Rural Development and FIFAMANOR, the national center for rural development and applied research. Such a formidable research and innovation platform established in Madagascar will certainly be of use to other countries of the Indian Ocean Commission.”


According to Dr. Gaudiose Mujawamariya, AfricaRice Country Representative in Madagascar, the stakeholder engagement sessions were inspiring for the CGIAR staff based in the country. “We are developing a roadmap to make a difference here, working together with our partners and funders, helping to build local capacity and share innovations and bringing the global research capacity of One CGIAR to Madagascar.”