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Assessment of food self-sufficiency in smallholder farming systems of south-western Madagascar using survey and remote sensing data


  • Noromiarilanto, Fanambinantsoa
  • Brinkmann, Katja
  • Faramalala, Miadana H.
  • Buerkert, Andreas


Madagascar is among the countries with a very high level of poverty and food insecurity. This holds particularly true for the south-western (SW) region with its chronic food shortages. Information on crop production, food availability and coping strategies of smallholders to deal with food shortages are scarce but urgently needed to assess the local food security status for more effective land management planning and famine prevention. This study, therefore, investigated farmers' coping strategies and determined the food security index (FSI), the food self-sufficiency ratio (FSSR) and cassava self-sufficiency (CSS) at the household level in three typical villages of the Mahafaly region in SW Madagascar. To this end we used household consumption surveys, land use mapping, crop field measurements, allometric equations and canopy cover estimations from aerial photographs for cassava yield assessments. For the majority of sampled households the daily calorie intake was insufficient (FSI<1) and the most frequent food insecurity coping strategies encountered were collection of wild food, off-farm activities and a reduction of meals. There was a high seasonal variation in food consumption, FSI and FSSR with different patterns on the plateau and in the coastal area. The main factors influencing FSSR were cassava yield, the livestock richness and landholding, whereas the number of off-farm activities determined FSI. Altogether, our results revealed that annual cultivated food crops provided up to 64% of people's diet. Cassava was the most important staple and played a key role for food self-sufficiency. However, cassava yields averaged only 0.69tha−1 and CSS ranged between 39 and 54%. Although there exists a high climate-induced risk in crop production, there is still room for improvements of agricultural techniques to enhance food self-sufficiency. However, enhancing access to off-farm income opportunities is similarly important to sustain local livelihoods in the long-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Noromiarilanto, Fanambinantsoa & Brinkmann, Katja & Faramalala, Miadana H. & Buerkert, Andreas, 2016. "Assessment of food self-sufficiency in smallholder farming systems of south-western Madagascar using survey and remote sensing data," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 139-149.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:149:y:2016:i:c:p:139-149
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2016.09.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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