American Journal of Rural Development
ISSN (Print): 2333-4762 ISSN (Online): 2333-4770 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/ajrd Editor-in-chief: Chi-Ming Lai
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American Journal of Rural Development. 2016, 4(2), 31-42
DOI: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-1
Open AccessArticle

The Changing Nature of Agricultural Livelihoods along a Peri-urban to Rural Gradient in Eastern Madagascar

Christoffel den Biggelaar1, and Maya Moore2

1Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Dept., Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

2Founder and President of Maroantsetra Area Development Association (MADA), Antananarivo, Madagascar

Pub. Date: July 01, 2016

Cite this paper:
Christoffel den Biggelaar and Maya Moore. The Changing Nature of Agricultural Livelihoods along a Peri-urban to Rural Gradient in Eastern Madagascar. American Journal of Rural Development. 2016; 4(2):31-42. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-4-2-1

Abstract

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, but with high conservation value due to its many unique, endemic species. Rapid population growth and increasing poverty are leading to growing food insecurity and malnutrition especially in rural areas, putting ever more pressure on remaining natural resources. Ecoagriculture is seen as one approach to address these issues, but the success of introducing new practices is contingent on the specific local conditions and situation of individual households reflected in different livelihood strategies. In order to better orient agricultural training and technical assistance provided by the Madagascar Flora and Fauna Group (MFG), a short survey was done in villages in two areas where MFG operates, at different distance from and ease of access to the city of Tamatave: Parc Ivoloina and the Betampona Integral Nature Reserve. Results show that households in villages around Betampona largely continue to use traditional slash-and-burn methods, with future livelihoods remaining focused on agriculture based on primarily food crop production. Around Parc Ivoloina, households rely more and more on off-farm and non-farm income made possible by its close proximity to Tamatave. People do farm, but are switching to less labor demanding tree crops and livestock more compatible with off-farm jobs, and to keep ancestral land occupied to provide supplementary food and income. The results confirm that farmers are adaptive resource managers, flexibly redirecting their activities, practices and methods as economic and environmental conditions change or opportunities arise.

Keywords:
agriculture rural development livelihood strategies madagascar

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