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Madagascar Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
At least seven out of ten Madagascans rely directly or indirectly on agriculture or livestock care. Yet only about a tenth of the country's arable land is cultivated. A much larger part of the land is used for livestock management.
Since cows are traditionally regarded as a sign of wealth, animal husbandry is often more focused on owning many animals than on producing meat and milk. For many farmers, cows are their main capital.
Rice is a staple food for most of the population. But despite the fact that rice is grown between one-third and one-half of the cultivated area, Madagascar has to import large quantities every year. Madagascar is one of the countries in the world that consumes the most rice per inhabitant, about 135 kilos a year. The goal is to become self-sufficient on rice, and that would probably have been achieved if not several severe cyclones had hit the country in recent years.
Other important crops are cassava, banana, mango, pineapple, coconuts, sweet potatoes and corn. For export, mainly vanilla, cloves and coffee are grown. In the early 2000s, Madagascar accounted for more than half of the world's vanilla production, but from 2009 the market was over saturated and vanilla prices fell, leading to a number of growers being ruined. In the second half of 2010, vanilla exports increased again. In 2018, Vanilla accounted for almost a third of the country's export earnings.
Malagasy agriculture is facing a number of challenges, including cyclones, grasshopper swarms, drought, poor infrastructure, and lack of capital for agricultural implements, pesticides and fertilizers and more.
Madagascar has a large variety of medicinal plants, and the knowledge of the island is great about how they are used. This resource has been utilized by Western pharmaceutical and perfume companies as well as in research projects.
Many coastal residents live on small-scale fishing for housing needs, and commercial fishing provides significant export income. Fish farms are increasing in number. Important fishing products are tuna, shrimp and crayfish. Several countries, including the EU, fish under license in Malagasy waters. Illegal fishing is a problem and risks causing overfishing.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
19.9 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
71.2 percent (2016)
President-friendly party wins in Senate elections
President Rajaonarimampianina strengthens his position when the presidential party, HVM, wins over 60 percent of the vote in the House of Assembly elections, the Senate.
New free trade agreement
Madagascar and 25 other countries agree on a new free trade agreement, the Tripartite Free Trade Area, which covers most of Africa from Egypt in the north to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can enter into force, negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the national parliaments.
Court dismisses national law against the president
The Constitutional Court annuls Parliament's decision to put President Rajaonarimampianina before national court. The decision lacks legal basis and the president has not acted contrary to the Constitution, according to the court.
Ravalomanana is released
President Rajaonarimampianina cancels house arrest for Ravalomanana. He says it has been happening since the predecessor acknowledged the legitimacy of the current government.
Parliament wants to oust the president
Parliament, surprisingly and with a large majority, voted to dismiss President Rajaonarimampianina in a judicial process. Members accuse him of abuse of power and of violating the constitution. The Constitutional Court must decide whether the president can be dismissed. Assessors warn that Madagascar risks being thrown into political chaos again if the president is dismissed.
The Prime Minister resigns
Prime Minister Kolo and his entire government resign. Kolo refers to growing dissatisfaction among the public with constant electricity cuts and the government's inability to live up to promises of better living conditions for the Madagascans. A new Prime Minister is appointed Flight Officer Jean Ravelonarivo. 22 ministers are allowed to keep their assignments while eight are replaced. Among other things, a new finance minister is appointed.