Aga Khan Foundation

Aga Khan Foundation

Encouraging better rice growing practices.

  • Goal 2

  • Madagascar

  • 2019 - 2023

  • Aga Khan Foundation

What if growing more rice could be less labour intensive, capture more carbon and protect against drought and floods?

In partnership with

The Zanatany Rice Permaculture System trains smallholder farmers in leading agro-ecological techniques to get better yields while reducing labour.

The Aga Khan Foundation is an international non-profit working to combat food insecurity in Madagascar and around the world, in part by training smallholder farmers in their Zanatany rice permaculture system. In Madagascar, 4 million people do not have sufficient access to food; rice production and import does not meet local demand; and extreme weather events are making farming more difficult.

The Zanatany rice permaculture system teaches farmers several farming techniques—direct rice seeding; homemade fertilizer; crop rotation; and no-till crop management—that improve yields while reducing labour. Smallholders take a big risk when adopting a new method, so Zanatany invites farmers to make small changes first.

During this project, the Aga Khan Foundation reached 23,600 farmers, which is way over their 22,000 target. The methods have been popular, with farmers reporting that neighbours are trying them out too. The Aga Khan Foundation is now expanding this project across Madagascar, and to East Africa and India.

Extreme weather had a large impact on rice farming in Madagascar during the project but farmers using Zanatany were prepared. For many trained farmers, yields increased to well above historical averages, ranging from 1.5 tons per hectare to 6.6 tons per hectare.

That’s some nice rice.

More on Zanatany methods here:

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