Carim EcosolsConservation agriculture in rice-based systems in Madagascar: sustainability and acceptance







The increased population in Madagascar and lack of irrigated areas for rice production leads to increasing use of land in the ferralitic uplands (tanety) to meet food demand. The upland rainfed soils are particularly infertile because of their phosphorus sorption capacity phosphorus or because they are acid. Traditional cultivation methods often aggravate the problems, exhausting nutrients and degrading the soils as well as producing low yields.

Rice productivity and the sustainability of production systems on the tanety upland soils can be improved by using conservation cropping systems. Conservation agriculture (CA) is based on various farming practices designed to improve biomass management on plot or farm scale as well as to make better use of soil organisms (microorganisms, meso- and macro-fauna) to improve various soil ecosystem services such as nutrient recycling. However, for sustainability, these practices must be adopted by farmers.

The study sites are in the central high plateau of Madagascar.


Improve rice productivity and the sustainability of the production systems through the adoption of conservation agriculture by farmers

The scientific aims are :

  • understand and maximise the soil bio-functioning and the efficient use of organic and inorganic fertilisers in CA systems to overcome the nutrient deficiency often found in tropical soils
  • assess the effects of CA systems on global performances and environmental services at field scale
  • undertake a socioeconomic analysis of the adoption of CA cropping systems at farm scale and the farmers’ perception of the positive externalities.

The project also sets out to consolidate the capacities of partners in developing countries by

  • supporting the organisation of research activities between the partners involved in conservation agriculture studies
  • supporting educational courses (A2E Doctoral School -"Agriculture, Livestock and Environment") by helping to build course modules
  • being instrumental in providing tuition for higher level students (Masters, PhD and post PhD)


  • Organisation of courses in Montpellier for students (Masters, PhD and Post PhD)
  • Arranging for the participation of French scientists and lecturers in educational courses (A2E Doctoral School -" Agriculture, Livestock and Environment; Summer School "Ecosystem services provided by soils")
  • Organising an International Conference (Agroecology for Africa – AfA 2014)
  • Supporting the research actions of various partners of the Upland Production Systems and Sustainability interinstitutional research platform (DP SPAD)..
  • Film production

Video of 5 minutes on agriculture in Madagascar. Directed by Lalaina Rakoto (Audiovisual Unit of the University of Antananarivo) whose scientific advisers are Thierry Becquer, Eric Blanchart and Tiphaine Chevallier. This video is the first of a series in progress....


Avril 2013 - Mai 2016


  • LRI, Laboratoire des Radioisotopes
  • FOFIFA, Centre National de la Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural de Madagascar
  • ESSA, Ecole Supérieure de Sciences Agronomiques
  • DP CIRAD, Systèmes Productifs d’Altitude et Durabilité


Agropolis Fondation


Thierry Becquer, Eco&Sols, IRD Montpellier
e-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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