Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rural development gets help from the sky

Seed Daily: The International Fund for Agricultural Development has been funding projects in Madagascar for over 30 years to eradicate rural poverty. With the country facing an exploding population and food crisis, the agency is looking skyward for support. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is not only working in Madagascar but also supporting poor rural people around the world to help them grow more food and achieve better livelihoods.

Earth observation satellites allow objective assessments of remote rural areas to help design, plan and monitor the impact of IFAD's development projects. ESA and IFAD have been working together to identify the detailed information needed to support selected projects in Madagascar.

ESA has carried out three trials to demonstrate how state-of-the-art Earth observation services can provide this information and improve the impact of IFAD's project.

Strengthening food security: One of IFAD's projects is to strengthen the food security of the rural population in the dry, famine-prone region of the Mandrare Basin by increasing productivity of the irrigated and rain-fed crops.

…Improving development planning: IFAD's project to support development in the Menabe region focuses on the sustainable expansion of arable land, mainly through irrigation schemes and securing agricultural land.

Securing land rights: IFAD is supporting a scheme introduced by the Malagasy Government that offers rural farmers the opportunity to formalise ownership of the land on which they depend….

Lake Kinkony in Madagascar, shot by NASA

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