Linking conservation and development in Madagascar
Between 2015 and 2018, the GRET team engaged with 12 local farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and 11 community-based organisations in six villages of the Mananara Nord National Park, Madagascar. In an effort to curb deforestation and overfishing, GRET attempted to put the local communities at the centre of the decision-making process to achieve better environmental stewardship. The organisation provided them with training and technical assistance to upgrade or test and develop alternative production techniques, improve their livelihoods and food security, and conserve the biodiversity of their unique natural ecosystem.
GRET has been working with farmers and fishermen in the Mananara Nord National Park on the island of Madagascar since 2012, with the goal of improving their livelihoods and food security while also conserving the biodiversity of their unique natural ecosystem. The resources and wildlife of the park are increasingly endangered by growing demographic pressure, severe weather conditions, “tavy” slash and burn subsistence agriculture and lucrative illegal trades, such as the rosewood trade.
Between 2015 and 2018, the GRET team engaged with 12 local farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and 11 community-based organisations in six villages of the National Park, providing them with training and technical assistance to upgrade or test and develop alternative production techniques in agriculture, forestry, fishing and small-scale stock rearing.
In an effort to curb deforestation and overfishing, the GRET team attempted to put the local communities at the centre of the decision-making process to achieve better environmental stewardship. However, implementing truly decentralized governance is a challenging process which can be hampered by institutional complexities and power dynamics regarding land tenure, weak central government representation and illicit trade that undermines inclusive development initiatives. After three years, the local communities are still in the process of taking charge of the opportunity presented by these changes and moving to defend their interests.
Despite this challenging local context, the programme has achieved the following results:
- Over 150 rice farmers have become knowledgeable in soil conservation techniques and water management strategies, and 325 vegetable farmers have learnt how to select high-quality seeds, and how to process, conserve and market their produce.
- A further 400 farmers have benefited from small-scale hydraulic systems implemented on 140 hectares of lowland rice plantations.
- 600 small breeders have benefitted from technical assistance and a vaccination campaign for 20,000 chickens that helped cut chicken mortality by 80%.
- The villages of Imorona and Mandrisy have been equipped with two fish smoking ovens to help prevent the loss of their catch and improve the incomes of fishing families.
While a qualitative survey has indicated that these improvements have had positive effects on household revenues, the data on their environmental impact remains inconclusive.