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The rice bank: revitalizing a good idea

Rice bank in Madagascar, bags it rice contributed

Our team made the decision to include Analakely at same level as the 3 others villages Zahana collaborates with. Analakely, a smaller village near Tsaramandroso (our 3rd village) is interested in actively working with us and has very dynamic people living there that are eager to implement our approaches. In total we have now 4 ‘zahana villages’ that actively sought out a cooperation for participatory development with us. This means we now have a 4th tree nursery as well!

In addition, we currently run our team’s core activities of reforestation, improved cookstove and bio-charcoal in a total of 10 villages in the region.

In Analakely, the community approached us, because they wanted to collaborate with us on a rice bank. The mayor of the village has been following our activities with great interest. To prove to us that they are serious, they started to collect rice amongst themselves for their own rice bank. Once they collected 1 ton and 200 kg, they approached us with the idea. After signing an agreement with us Zahana will added 1 ton of rice that we bought from the community to contribute to their rice bank.

Getting the bag if rice into the rice bak in Madagascar

But there is more: They actually increased their amount of rice to 2 tons. The team decided to match this and Zahana bought an additional ton from the community. We did this with the upcoming ‘époque dure’ in mind. With prices rising and the famine in the south of the country, what people in the West call ‘food security’ is a nice euphemism for the fact that people might go hungry in the ‘époque dure’, despite the fact that they are rice farmers and growing rice. We took advantage of the fact that the price for rice is lowest right after harvest and bought a second ton that we are now storing in our rice bank. It has a dual purpose: seed stock for the next year and an additional buffer for people to eat, should they go hungry.

Rice bank in Madagascar

This is a very exciting development, because it shows to us that one of our very first activities (2006), a rice bank, can be successfully implemented with community wide buy-in.

Rice bank with rice in Madagascar working with