Food and nutrition security interventions among populations affected by El Niño in region of the Greater South in Madagascar

faoFood and nutrition security interventions among populations affected by El Niño in region of the Greater South in Madagascar.

Following the declaration of a drought situation in the region of the Greater South of Madagascar, the vulnerability of the rural population has reached an alarming level.

A project for emergency agricultural rehabilitation of farming households and vulnerable producers has been implemented to allow them to recover quickly from the loss of their crops as a result of the drought that hit the area.

“As part of this project on Integrated Actions for Nutrition and Food (AINA), currently being implemented in five regions in Madagascar and funded by the European Union, farmers were encouraged to use improved, adapted and drought-tolerant seeds.Through the implementation of the approach of Climate-Smart Agriculture, over 35,000 households have benefited from these seeds,” noted Patrice TallaTatoukam, FAO Representative in Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles , while visiting Ambovombein the region a week ago.

“In the interest of a sustainable and inclusive development, it is important to become acquainted with the daily realities and increase contacts with beneficiaries, in order to better target needed responses,”said Mr. Talla. His visit also served to recognize the efforts made by the technical team of the SouthernFAO Office in implementing projects aimed at improving the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable populations in this region particularly affected by the effects of El Niño.

Challenge of adaptation to climate change

Climate change impacts on agriculture and food security through increased frequency of extreme meteorological events (cyclones, floods, and drought, as in the case of Southern Madagascar) and increased unpredictability of weather patterns.

As a result, this has caused decreases in production and income in vulnerable areas. Many smallholder producers are already facing the degradation of natural resources. They often lack knowledge on how to adapt their production systems and have limited resources and risk-taking capacity to access technology and financial services.

Improving food security while contribute to mitigating the impact of climate change and to the protection of natural resources requires a transition to more productive agricultural production systems witha more efficient use of inputs and a less variable and more stable production that is more resilient to risks, shocks and long-term climate variability.

A more productive and resilient agriculture requires a major change in land, water, soil nutrients and genetic resourcesmanagement practices, to ensure that these resources are managed more effectively. The Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), as defined and presented by FAO at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nutrition – At the heart ofaactions

After the presentation of the Report on the Cost of Hunger by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, during his visit to Madagascar on 10 and 11 May, a particular attention is now being given by the Government to nutrition. FAO has participated in the preparation of this document, and has already issued the recommendation to update the nutrition policy of the country by taking into account the multidisciplinary aspect of nutrition during the evaluation of the results of implementation of the National Action Plan on Nutrition – Phase II in February 2016. For its part, FAO Madagascar is intensifying crop diversification and nutrition education activities among farming and rural populations.

This week, US Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome (FAO, IFAD and WFP), David Lane, is visiting Madagascar with a team of international and Malagasy journalists.

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