At the end of 2020, Agrisud’s scientific partners released the article “Impacts on greenhouse gas balance and rural economy after agroecology development in Itasy Madagascar”.*(Journal of Cleaner Production, 2020)
This publication, written by the Laboratoire des Radio-isotopes (Research Laboratory), the University of Antananarivo, the IRD (the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) and the Eco&Sols (Joint research unit), confirms that agroecological practices can at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and allow the increase of farmers incomes.
The Itasy region in Madagascar, a propitious field study
In Madagascar, agriculture mainly depends on very small farms, which use polyculture associated with livestock farming on a limited property (1 to 5ha per farm). It represents the main source of income for the majority of Malagasy people.
Itasy is an agricultural region of approximately 7,000km². Families are confronted with the effects of
climate change, land degradation and loss of fertility. To face these challenges, Agrisud has supported these families since 2008 in the adoption of agroecological practices.
In 2011, Agrisud’s scientific partners began research studies to evaluate the effects of practices changes on the Carbon footprint of the farms.
The carrying-out of field measures (Carbon stock in soils and biomass, methane emissions according to different routes of rice production), surveys among producers on their practices and production strategies, associated with the economic knowledge of farms from Agrisud technicians, conducted to modeling Carbon flow, establishing the farms’ greenhouse gas balance and their economic results according to different scenarios.
Different scenarios to consider the effects of agroecology
The impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on food systems had a significant role in the three events. Each time, Agrisud highlighted the high variability of this impact, with negative effects, but also positive ones sometimes. All food systems were affected, with mixed intensities according to the places, the time and the types of agricultural products.
The reference scenario presents a situation where no project is implemented and where the traditional system of irrigated rice is preserved.
The scenario 1 considers an average level of adoption of agro-ecological practices, with the conversion of 47.6% of rainfed crops to agroforestry areas and the adoption of Intensive irrigated Rice-farming System (IRS) for 44% of the rice areas.
The scenario 2assumes that families adopt agroecology at an advanced levelwith a high use of compost, a conversion of 100% of food-producing to agroforestry areas and a total adoption of IRS.
Positive effects on environment and rural economy
This study shows that, even if the results change according to different indicators and tools used, conclusions remain the same: adopting agroecological practices allows at the same time to reduce annual average GHG emissions by the farms (-5.2 tCO2eq per farm in the scenario 1 and -13.6 tCO2eq per farm in the scenario 2* and to increase the annual income of the farm (x1.8 in the scenario 1 and x4 in the scenario 2), especially thanks to an increase in rice yields (1.7 to 6 t per ha) and to the additional income from the sale of fruits in agroforestry system.
These results prove that adopting agroecological practices and systems have three advantages compared to existing agricultural systems:
- the significant increase of agricultural income linked to the yields increase but also to the diversification of productions.
- these agricultural income are secured over time thanks to a better management of productive natural resources: managing water under IRS and maintaining the fertility of soils under cultivation.
- the positive externality which consists in improving the Carbon footprint of the farms (reduction of GHG emissions, sequestration of Carbon in soils and biomass), contributes to mitigate climate change.
In case it was still necessary to demonstrate the economical and ecological benefice of agroecology… it is now done in Madagascar with the family farms in Itasy!
Publication: Rakotovao N.H., Chevallier T., Chapuis-Lardy L., Deffontaines S., Mathé S., Ramarofidy M.A., Rakotoniamonjy T.H., Lepage A., Masso C., Albrecht A., Razafimbelo T.M. Impacts on greenhouse gas balance and rural economy after agroecology development in Itasy Madagascar. Journal of cleaner production. 2020
This publication will be presented at the occasion of the Conference organized by the Radioisotope Laboratory (LRI) of the University of Antananarivo:
Thursday, January 14, 2021 – 08.00 AM Nairobi
via Zoom – Connexion link
Friday, January 15, 2021 – 08:00 AM Nairobi
via Zoom – Connexion link
“For a connexion between innovating research, society and the challenges of sustainable development”
*Results from modeling the farms’ GHC balance by using the TropiC Farm Tool