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 of 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 rice harvests but also improved her family’s livelihood. Through her involvement with the Community Based Savings Group (CBSG), Fanambinana, Mrs Vololomboahangy was introduced to the Zanatany System of rice cultivation and has since seen remarkable changes in her rice yields, and consequent improvements in both her livelihood and climate resilience.

With climate change, Madagascar has experienced challenging agricultural seasons. Rains have been delayed and farmers have faced severe droughts. Looking for a solution, Mrs Vololomboahangy decided to give the Zanatany System a try. As a result – and to her astonishment – her rice harvest tripled. This increase in productivity during, especially at times of such severe drought, shows the power of the Zanatany System in combating climate-related challenges in agriculture.

“Even during this agricultural season, marked by delays in ther rains and a severe drought, Zanatany gave a fairly satisfactory production.”

Mrs Vololomboahangy, Farmer, Analamanga region, Madagascar

One of the more significant advantages of the Zanatany System is its ability to resist various plant diseases. Unlike neighbouring rice plots where farmers are applying more traditional methods, Mrs Vololomboahangy’s yields remained intact by disease. The Zanatany System is thus an important 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 promotes efficient use of seeds. Once she started applying the Zanatany System, Mrs Vololomboahangy only needed 10 kapoaka, approximately 3kg of seeds, for her field. In previous years, the same plot cultivated using traditional techniques had required approximately 10kg of seeds. This significant reduction in seed usage has lowered her costs and is also helping promote sustainable agriculture practices, conserving valuable resources for future generations.

The Zanatany System also has a short crop cycle. Traditionally, rice is harvested around six months after sowing. However, with the adoption of the Zanatany System and the use of improved seeds like “FOFIFA 160,” Mrs Vololomboahangy is able to harvest just four months after sowing. This shorter cropping cycle allows farmers to be more adaptive to changing conditions and opens possibilities for boosting agricultural productivity.

Since she has adopted the Zanatany System, Mrs Vololomboahangy has found a new sense of ease in managing her rice field. She has more time, allowing 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 is enhancing the quality of life for farmers and opening opportunities for them to diversify their income streams.

Mrs Vololomboahangy’s inspiring journey with the Zanatany System demonstrates the transformative power of sustainable farming practices in rural communities. Embracing this innovative technique has not only increased her rice yields but also improved her family’s quality of life. With its resilience to climate hazards, protection against plant diseases, and shorter crop cycle, the Zanatany System is providing hope to countless farmers in Madagascar and beyond.

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