[Madagascar] Food self-sufficiency - Emiratis invest in Lower Mangoky

The Arabs will develop 60,000 ha with the objective of obtaining food security
L'Express | 20 January 2020 [FR]

(Loose translation by GRAIN)

Food self-sufficiency - Arabs invest in Lower Mangoky

Mirana Ihariliva

A major Arab group is planning to exploit a large area of arable land in Lower Mangoky, southwest Madagscar. A memorandum of understanding has already been signed.

Big farms. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries reports that the group "Elite Agro LLC", based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is entering into a partnership with the Malagasy state. The Arab company founded in 2010 is reported to be the leading agricultural entreprise in the UAE with large scale integrated farming activities. The group has been granted the right to farm 60,000 ha of arable land in the Lower Mangoky region in the south-western part of the country.

"In order to achieve food self-sufficiency, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has partnered with the Elite Agro LLC group. The Memorandum of Understanding stipulates that the operation concerns 60,000 ha of land in Lower Mangoky where 350,000 t of rice, 200,000 t of maize, 150,000 t of wheat, 300,000 t of soybeans, 20,000 t of cape peas and 30,000 t of groundnuts are expected to be produced each year," the communiqué of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries states. The contribution of the Malagasy state is related to "providing" the land in the form of a "loan" while Elite Agro LLC is in charge of developing and farming it, generating thousands of jobs. "The production will be bought by the state at a lower cost, both to supply the local market and with a view to export. It should be stressed that the project will initially be tested for one year, before signing a final contract," the press release said.

Modern perimeter

The Minister of Agriculture, Lucien Ranarivelo, has indicated that the 60,000 ha made available to the Arab group is separate from the 10,000 ha recently developed with the African Development Bank (AfDB). "It is an unexploited land where there is still no activity. And there is no question of renting it," he says. The Lower Mangoky Plain is said to have some 100,000 hectares of land available for development. 11 000 ha were developed during the first republic, and the Lower Mangoky perimeter is said to be one of the most modern in Africa before 2002.

The Lower Mangoky plain extends from Morombe district, Tanandava Station, Ambahikily to the commune of Mahebo, in the north-west. The Arabs will bring the seeds, all materials and equipment, and will pay the salaries of the employees. The partnership with the Arabs began when the project was approved by the Council of Ministers on 16 January.
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