Improvement of regional seed production systems for rice and beans in Madagascar

CRAM (Cercle Régional des Agriculteurs Malagasy Fianarantsoa) was established in 1996 and has 250 members. CRAM focuses on the production of quality seeds for rice. CRAM collaborates closely with a sister farmer organisation APDIP, which is specialising in the production of quality bean seed. The Farmer Organisations support their seed producers with advice on production technology, organisation of quality assurance, and the planning and marketing of the seed. For both rice and beans, improved varieties are being released by international and national agricultural research.

To assure that Malagasy farmers can benefit from this potential, local adaptation of varieties needs to be understood, effective mechanisms for variety in quality seed use promotion needs to be developed and business models for the economically sustainable production and marketing of quality seed are required. The ESFIM study has:

  • tested the local adaptability of newly (pre-)released rice and bean varieties;
  • Tried out business models for local cost-effective and sustainable production of early generation seed;
  • Tested seed value chain organisation opportunities to professionalise the bean and rice seed production and marketing system.

Conclusions

  • Testing in partnership with researchers has released two varieties (FOFIFA 160 and FOFIFA 183) appreciated by producers because of their performance related to productivity, early maturity (short cycle), a good reaction in early season with the possibility of production growth by two harvests a year and their post-harvest behaviour, including threshing and cooking.
  • The project has enabled CRAM and Apdip to: i) further strengthen the technical capacities in seed production, ii) produce within CRAM and ensure a seed volume required for the production of certified seeds, for specialised seed producers / CRAM and for other seed operators.
  • For the production of bean seeds, testing of new varieties was unsatisfactory due to weather conditions in 2017. Yield was low compared to forecast. The tests will have to be redone to be able to further analyze the results of the experiment (project duration was twelve months).

Proud of

  • CRAM has been accredited by Fofifa to produce basic seeds which is also a recognition of the farmers’ know-how. The catalogue has been improved with two new varieties: F160 and F183.
  • Recognition of the quality of seeds produced vis-à-vis customers
  • Increased demand in relation to supply.
  • Basic seed provider to other seed producers in the region / other regions.

Lessons learnt

The duration of the project was too short to test new bean varieties in a farming environment and to view the climate conditions. The test was unsatisfactory. It would be necessary to negotiate a period of three years minimum