The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) is implementing a new rice farming strategy in Madagascar.
Three tropical cyclones ravaged large parts of the island during the spring of 2000. Almost one million people were affected, in part because crops were damaged or destroyed. Forty percent of the rice crop was destroyed. Replacement seeds were in short supply and of poor quality as a result of drought prior to the cyclones.
In addition to rehabilitating roads and buildings, ADRA Madagascar developed new agricultural techniques. ADRA Madagascar is teaching farmers how to grow their own seeds. By decentralizing seed production, there is less chance of all seed plots being affected by disaster; and the costs and problems of shipping are minimized.
Other factors affect quality of production. Chemical analysis determines how to bring the soil to optimum condition for seed production. Soil enrichment requires compost and inter-season crops that add elements like nitrogen and phosphorous. The sale of the crops provides additional income for the farmer. Minimizing weeds is another strategy for farmers to increase productivity of existing fields, rather than clearing new fields.
Other ADRA activities in Madagascar include child survival projects, rehabilitation of schools, and a school lunch program.
Located off the southeastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world=B9s fourth largest island and is about the size of Texas. The climate is arid in the south, moderate inland, and tropical on the coast. The adult literacy rate is 47 percent; average life expectancy for men is 52 and 54 for women.
Additional information about ADRA can be found on its web site at www.adra.org.
An internationally recognized non-governmental organization, ADRA is active in more than 120 nations. The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations granted ADRA general consultative status in 1997. ADRA is an independent humanitarian agency established with the specific purpose of individual and community development and disaster relief without regard to age, ethnicity, or political or religious association.
Norma J Sahlin
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Development Bureau
301-529-0500 (nationwide cell phone)
visit our web site: http://www.adra.org