Empowering rural farmers:

The Zanatany system transforms livelihoods in Madagascar

Meet Mrs Vololomboahangy and learn about her journey towards sustainable farming
In the rural commune Alatsinainy Ambazaha, nestled within the picturesque Analamanga region of Madagascar, lies a community that relies on traditional rice cultivation techniques passed down through generations. However, amidst the challenges posed by climate hazards and limited resources, one farmer, Mrs Vololomboahangy, embarked on a transformative journey that not only boosted her harvest but also improved her family’s livelihood. Through her involvement with the community based-saving group, Fanambinana, Mrs Vololomboahangy was introduced and trained in the Zanatany Rice Production System (ZRPS) and has since seen remarkable changes in her rice yield, revolutionising her methods towards resilience, efficiency, and sustainability. Madagascar has experienced challenging agricultural seasons through delayed rains and severe droughts. Despite these adverse conditions, Mrs Vololomboahangy adopted the newly innovative Zanatany system. Showcasing its resilience by withstanding climatic challenges, the Zanatany system significantly improved Mrs Vololomboahangy’s harvest – compared to the usual single buck produced by traditional techniques, after the adoption of the Zanatany rice system, she yielded an impressive three bucks, totalling approximately 200kg of paddy. This increase in productivity during such unfavourable conditions exemplifies the strength of the ZRPS in combating climate-related agriculture difficulties.
“Even during this agricultural season, which is marked by the delay of the rain and a great drought, the Zanatany gave a fairly satisfactory production.”
Mrs Vololomboahangy, Farmer, Analamanga region, Madagascar
However, one of the more significant advantages of the Zanatany system is its ability to resist various plant diseases. Unlike neighbouring rice plots cultivated using traditional methods, Mrs Vololomboahangy’s yield remained unaffected by destructive diseases. This resilience to plant diseases highlights the importance of adopting the Zanatany system to safeguard against potential crop losses, ensuring food security for families and communities relying on rice cultivation.
“My plot, in the Zanatany system, was not affected by a disease which has a serious impact on production, but that of the neighbouring plots, which is practiced in the traditional way is severely affected.”
Mrs Vololomboahangy, Farmer, Analamanga region, Madagascar
The Zanatany system also demonstrated efficiency in seed usage. Mrs Vololomboahangy only used 10 kapoaka, approximately 3kg of seeds, for her field. In contrast, the same plot cultivated using traditional techniques required approximately 10kg of seeds. This significant reduction in seed usage lowers costs for farmers and promotes sustainable agriculture practices, conserving valuable resources for future generations. The Zanatany system also has a short crop cycle. Traditionally, rice harvests are made around six months after sowing, however, with the adoption of the ZRPS and improved seeds like “FOFIFA 160,” Mrs Vololomboahangy was able to harvest just four months after sowing. This shorter cropping cycle allows farmers to be more adaptive to changing conditions and opens possibilities to boost agricultural productivity.
Since using the Zanatany system, Mrs Vololomboahangy has found newfound ease in managing her rice field. The time saved has allowed her to focus on other aspects of her life, like educating her children on family values and engaging in additional income-generating activities, like market gardening. The reduced workload not only enhances the quality of life for farmers but also opens opportunities for them to diversify their income streams. Mrs Vololomboahangy’s inspiring journey with the Zanatany system demonstrates the transformative power of sustainable agricultural practices in rural communities. Through her participation, she was able to embrace innovative techniques that not only increased her rice yield but also elevated her family’s quality of life. With its resilience to climate hazards, protection against plant diseases and shorter crop cycle, the Zanatany system provides hope with improving the lives of countless farmers in Madagascar and beyond.

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