AKF has worked with cacao collector Mr Joma Abdoul Sylvain on upgrading the quality of his cacao beans so …

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Madagascar has been implementing a rural development programme in all seven …

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Mrs Amina Djao Aly (right) is one of many cacao farmers in the Diana Region who receive technical support …

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

To the north of Sofia, in Diana, AKF is supporting cocoa farmers to improve the quality of their crops and …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

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Madagascar | Agriculture and Food Security


Over 80,000 smallholder rice farmers have increased their yields since 2005

A pilot programme introducing biogas as an alternative cooking fuel. It protects the environment against deforestation and reduces the family’s risk of respiratory diseases associated with inhalation of cooking smoke. Mrs Martinique was selected for the pilot because she has cattle. Feeding them bano grasse makes them produce abundant waste, which is then transferred to a biodigesteur and fermented there, generating biogas that then travels through pipes leading into the kitchen, fueling a rice cooker and gas oven furnished by the pilot programme. Mrs Martinique provided the materials (cement, etc.) to build the biodigesteur, AKF taught her how to build it.

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura


While greater rice yields have helped rural communities become more food-sufficient, most farming households remain without income-generating activity for nearly half of the year, as the rice season extends only from November to April. A diet composed primarily of rice does not provide adequate nutrition for proper growth and health. We therefore promote the diversification of crops and livestock to improve income, food security and nutrition.

Starting in the northwest region of Sofia, our activities have expanded to the Diana, Sava, Itasy and Analamanga regions. For example, we support cocoa farmers in Diana to improve the quality of their crops and help them access markets. In addition to cocoa, other cash crops such as Artemisia (used in antimalarial drugs) are being introduced to improve farmers’ incomes.

Other new crops and livestock include dairy, small livestock, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, spices, medicinal and perfume plants.

Nutrition and Environmental Protection

Nutrition is also becoming a key focus with the introduction of sweet potatoes and “edible forests” (with banana trees, jackfruit and breadfruit). These not only add nutritious fruit and vegetables to the rice staple, but also improve crop diversity and soil quality.

Environmental improvement efforts are complemented by the introduction of conservation agriculture techniques aimed at protecting natural capital and mitigating against some of the effects of a changing climate such as hotter summers and wetter winters. We support the adoption of innovative rice cultivation systems (including agroecology, agroforestry and livestock integration) that are holistic, gender-inclusive, environmentally friendly and climate-smart, while improving nutritional status, dietary diversity and economic inclusion.