MADAGASCAR – The paddy rice harvest in Madagascar is expected to reach 5.8 million tonnes at the end of the 2023/2024 rice growing season, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

This forecast, if it comes true, would represent an increase of 10.53% compared to the stock produced a year earlier and would confirm the good dynamics of the sector.

Madagascar is the third African rice producer after Nigeria and Egypt. The country which recorded good growth in its production in 2022/2023 intends to continue with the same dynamic during its new rice growing season.

According to Harifidy Ramilison, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, this good performance is attributed to the various supports provided by the executive and the combined effect of several other factors. 

The manager mentions in particular the construction and rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure, the provision of inputs and the supervision of farmers, and even the good rainfall in several production areas of the country.

Rice growing is the main agricultural activity in Madagascar. According to official statistics, more than half of all farmland is devoted to rice, and more than two-thirds of Malagasy households grow rice.

However, due to a number of factors, such as seed quality, farming techniques, and infrastructure, rice production in Madagascar is unable to fully meet the food needs of its population, forcing it to resort to imports.

Early this year, with the help of Chinese hybrid rice experts, the country introduced a hybrid rice variety with a higher yield per cultivated area giving Madagascar hope of achieving food self-sufficiency.

Indeed, the Big Island is coming out of a 2022/2023 campaign marked by an increase of 8% from one year to the next in its harvest compared to increases which were around 5% during previous campaigns.

Overall, the increase in rice production in 2022/2023 resulted in better availability of milled rice on the local market, which made it possible to reduce the volume of imports during the first 9 months of the year.

In its latest monthly bulletin, the Rice Observatory (ODR) indicated in particular that cumulative imports of the cereal between January and September 2023 fell by 36.57% to stand at 349,409 tonnes.