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Slightly built, looking both youthful and self-assured, Heriniaina, or 'Life Force' in Malagasy, confidently stands on her land in Tanandava. She is not afraid to address Akinwumi Adesina, President of Africa's premier financial institution, who is standing facing her and asking her about her agricultural activities, and who is more than impressed by her rice plot.
A beneficiary of the irrigation project funded by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) in Lower Mangoky in south-western Madagascar, Heriniaina is a member of a local women's association. She has made the most of the plot allocated to her, saving up enough to acquire a tractor worth 3,000 euros. This tractor has enabled her to double her harvest, ahead of the production of most of the male farmers, who still use zebus to cultivate their land. Renting the tractor out for agricultural products that she sells on the market also increases her earnings.
"My life has changed," she told the AfDB President. The same can be said for the entire Tanandava community; it has experienced a total transformation thanks to the project, which has significantly improved the fertility of irrigated land. Thanks to the investment the irrigated area has, in fact, increased from 5,000 to 10,000 hectares. Similarly, yields have doubled from 2-3 to 5-6 tonnes per hectare. And the result of all this is a better quality of life for the local population topped off by the construction of a neighbourhood school.
The Lower Mangoky Irrigation Area Rehabilitation Project (PRBM, from the French) has the sectoral goal of contributing to a reduction in rural poverty in the Atsimo-Andrefana Region and, more specifically, of improving agricultural productivity and the incomes of farmers in the South-Western Region of Madagascar.
The Lower Mangoky area is in the district of Morombe in the South-Western Region of Madagascar, 220 km north of the city of Toliara. It is watered by the river Mangoky, the largest river in Madagascar, through a new water intake with a capacity of 40 m3 per second, located 20 km upstream of Lower Mangoky and which too was funded by the Bank. The Lower Mangoky area is currently in second place after the Manombo area in terms of self-supported concrete irrigation channels reaching as far as individual plots.