Madagascar Gets World Bank Support to Help Spur its Agriculture Sector

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors, yesterday, approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit totaling US$53 million in support of the Government of Madagascar’s Agriculture Rural Growth and Land Management project (CASEF). The project will help improve rural land tenure security and access to markets for targeted households in selected agricultural value chains.

Extreme poverty is pervasive in Madagascar, having increased from 77.5 percent in 2001 to 78.2 percent of the population in 2012. Poverty is significantly higher in rural areas where close to 80 percent of Madagascar’s population lives. Development indicators for rural areas lag behind those for urban areas and extreme poverty incidence is higher among female-headed households, which constitutes about a fifth of all households. Agriculture, which remains largely at subsistence levels, is characterized by low productivity, and involves directly or indirectly about 80 percent of the population; the largest share of the labor force.

“Farmers need to be connected to markets so they grow the right products, take advantage of commercial opportunities, and turn their farm into profitable enterprises” said Jan Joost Nijhoff, World Bank co-Task Team Leader for the operation.

This project combines value chain development, improved land rights management, and infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation into an integrated approach where project interventions are demand-driven and constitute public investments that are complementary to, and would leverage additional, private investment.

“Agriculture has the potential to lift millions out of poverty. Unless land rights and ownership are secured, farmers are unlikely to make long term investments in the land that they use,” said Andre Teyssier, World Bank co-Task Team Leader for the operation. “Also, agriculture potential is often hampered by unfavorable weather patterns. Recurrent floods and droughts frequently disrupt agricultural production and livelihoods in Madagascar. The project will promote climate-smart agricultural management practices which can improve resilience to weather shocks and productivity.”

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