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FEDEM

FEDEM, which stands for the Federation of Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Madagascar, primarily operates in the agricultural sector, having been established in November 2021. By 2024, it already includes over 350 member farmers. Over 90% of the Malagasy population relies on agricultural production for their income.

PROJECT 1: ORGANIC FERTILIZER AND DISTRIBUTION OF MINERAL FERTILIZERS

Supporting this sector through the establishment of a production and Supply Chain for Fertilizers would be prudent for the general interest.Fertilizer needs are estimated at 500,000 tonnes per year. Our arable lands are around 32 million hectares, of which 2 million are currently cultivated, 60% of which is rice.FEDEM is committed to this project. It has set up a model farm in Anjozorobe, the REKANY Farm since 2023. It began experimenting this year with artisanal fertilizer production.

Reasons for fertilizers Use

Organic fertilizers significantly improve soil structure by increasing porosity and reducing erosion. They play a crucial role in water retention, allowing the soil to retain essential moisture for plant growth. As they decompose, they release vital nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, thus enriching the soil. Organic matter promotes a rich biodiversity, providing habitat and food for a multitude of organisms beneficial for soil health. It stimulates plant growth by supporting conducive microbial conditions and helping protect against diseases. Through carbon sequestration, it contributes to combating climate change by reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Finally, soils rich in organic matter are fertile and can better filter contaminants, thus protecting water quality.

Mineral fertilizers provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, enhancing soil fertility and increasing crop yields. They act quickly, allowing for efficient correction of plants’ nutritional deficiencies. With their adjustable formulation, they offer precision and control in plant nutrition management, adapting to the specific needs of crops and soils. Available in various forms, their application is facilitated using standard agricultural equipment, allowing easy integration into agricultural practices.

However, excessive use of mineral fertilizers can lead to environmental problems such as water pollution and affect soil biodiversity.

Therefore, it is essential to adopt integrated nutrient management, combining mineral and organic fertilizers to optimize benefits while minimizing negative impacts. The judicious use of mineral fertilizers is crucial for sustainable agriculture, balancing food production needs with environmental protection.

Findings

Many agricultural producers are increasingly using less organic fertilizer due to its higher production cost (labour, systemic cost) compared to cheaper mineral fertilizers when considering the cultivated area / cost ratio.

Mineral Fertilizers

Mineral fertilizers are easier to store and use. However, the risks are real and tangible, as excessive use of mineral fertilizers carries several environmental risks mentioned above. The economic dependence they can create among farmers adds extra dimensions to the environmental concerns related to excessive use of mineral fertilizers.

Recommendations

The principle of using organic base fertilizer and mineral maintenance fertilizer should ideally be implemented to correct and reinvigorate agricultural production. The combination of organic base fertilizer and mineral maintenance fertilizer represents a holistic approach to optimizing soil fertility and promoting sustainable agricultural yields.

Organic base fertilizers, such as compost or manure, provide beneficial organic matter, improving soil structure and gradually releasing nutrients. Meanwhile, Mineral maintenance fertilizers quickly supply essential elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, meeting the immediate needs of plants in critical growth phases.

This combination allows for staggered nutrient release, promoting balanced crop growth throughout their cycle. Additionally, it helps minimize environmental risks associated with excessive use of mineral fertilizers by incorporating organic components, improving water retention, and supporting soil biodiversity. Thus, this synergistic approach provides balanced nutrient management, fostering sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

FEDEM should encourage the production of both organic and mineral fertilizers to ensure a better future of production for its members while maintaining the freedom to use mineral fertilizers or not.

PROJECT 2: POTATO SEEDS

In 2024, FEDEM brings together 250 potato farmers in the Vakinankaratra region. The potato sector within FEDEM has a pyramidal structure:

– Seed production laboratory

– Multiplier

– Producer

Findings

Laboratories have always been a strategic link for the sustainability of the potato sector. Although FoFiFa and other organizations like Fifamanor have the necessary infrastructure for the development and stabilization of basic and pre-base seeds, structural, organizational, and financial support are essential to reinvigorate activities within this link since 80% of this activity is supported by Fifamanor in Antsirabe.

The mission of Fifamanor is to conserve and use the scientific and technical heritage at its disposal to perpetuate the sector.                     Currently, Fifamanor has entrusted the management of its facilities to peasant organizations that try to secure the seeds produced by cloning them but without real research programs and laboratory work, the future of the sector looks bleak.

Recommendations

Why reinvigorate a structure like Fifamanor in Vakinankaratra?

It has ensured research and development, dissemination and popularization of new varieties adapted to the requirements of downstream operators, and production of vitroplants in Tsiafajavona and basic seeds up to F3.The supply of seeds is crucial for the sustainability of the sector. It involves strengthening the production capacities of FIFAMANOR, CEFFEL, PMS, GPS, and other actors in the production of potato seeds.

FEDEM must position itself as a strategic partner in the organization of the sectors because the seed producers in Vakinankaratra federate there. These said farmers are sensitive to the research and development of disease-resistant varieties, while maintaining the agronomic requirements existing between the potato-market pair.