The role of biodiversity and natural resource management in food security in south-eastern Madagascar

N. Randrianarison, S. Nischalke, H. Andriamazaoro
Madagascar still ranks low on the HDI (rank 151) and about one third of the population is undernourished. South-eastern Madagascar with its rich biodiversity has the highest rate of food insecurity (64%) and the largest proportion of households with a poor diet with regard to quantity and quality. This study aims at exploring consumption behavior of rural populations and understanding the reasons for poor nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in the area. The role of biodiversity for the diversity of diets is investigated and assessed along with natural resource management practices and usage of ecosystem services with regard to contribution to diet diversity, livelihoods as well as their sustainability. The data for this study were collected through ethnography, 16 gender-disaggregated focus group discussions and about 300 in-depth interviews with smallholder farmers as well as key stakeholder interviews in two village sites in Atsimo Atsinanana Region in south-eastern Madagascar. The research showed that food consumption is characterized by a high priority for staple foods, so that three quarters of the daily calorie intake is covered through rice and cassava. Despite the high biodiversity in the region people do not consume a balanced diet. Whereas fruit consumption is relatively high, the perception and consumption of vegetables are low (“vegetables” are considered as green leaves). Eating fish is not common and meat is not affordable for most, so consumption is also not meeting nutritional needs. Especially the poorest people in the region highly depend on hunting, fishing and gathering of wild foods from their surroundings to supplement their deficient diets. Hence, a healthy ecosystem plays a vital role in diversification of diets of the people and in providing additional livelihood sources (e.g., material for basketry). Through that they maintain a close relation with nature and the environment. The paper will also look into how sustainable such practices are and what effects established collective rules (dina) for natural resource management by local authorities (Ampanjaka) have. Apparently they are respected well. In a last step, recommendations are given how interests of conservation and utilization can be harmonised.
Randrianarison, N., Nischalke, S. and Andriamazaoro, H. (2020). The role of biodiversity and natural resource management in food security in south-eastern Madagascar. Acta Hortic. 1267, 267-274
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1267.40
balanced diet, biodiversity, food insecurity, natural resource management

Acta Horticulturae