Providing training and workshops in alternative agriculture practices has been one of our focuses from the start.
We are currently implementing a project in Torotorofotsy in cooperation with the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Other collaboration partners are Asity Madagascar as the new manager of the Ramsar site, VOI Taratra and the Ministry of Environment. The aim of the project is to strengthen the protection of the wetland by combining conservation with sustainable development. The activities include training in methods of sustainable farming, establishment of sustainable farming plots for vegetable growing, creation of alternative income generation activities, development of ecotourism, environmental education in schools and environmental awareness-raising events for the community. A tree nursery has been established to produce seedlings for the restoration of the wetland buffer zone.
The alternative income generation activities consist of promoting women’s handicrafts and their marketing. In 2015, these women founded the Menalamba Women’s Association. They have had several trainings in local handicraft making. Their skills in handicraft design have increased and they have learnt to do business. The women have a showroom in Menalamba where visitors can buy their products.
The materials for handicrafts come from the wetland, but the production is sustainable. Plant species that grow naturally in the wetland area are also grown in the nursery from where they are transferred to the wetland. This kind of sustainable utilization of native plant material gives an incentive for local people to protect the wetland.
Some of our earlier projects have included:
- Creation of demonstration plots involving agro-forestry, fruit trees, and permaculture techniques around Andasibe
- Bee keeping workshops and trainings
- Contributing to the development of improved vegetable gardens and associated local market for farmers to sell their produce
- Distribution of vegetable seeds along with information about alternative sustainable agricultural techniques
- Support of volunteers with a background in sustainable agriculture as part of the sustainable livelihoods component of the now defunct TAMS project
- With the help of Peace Corps, worked to promote Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) to improve yield of rice fields and reduce hillside rice cultivation