Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Madagascar

Geographical situation of MadagascarMadagascar is a relatively large island located in Southern Africa. 80% of the Malagasy population derives its income from the agricultural sector, which contributes 30% of the GDP. Almost the totality of the agricultural crops that occur in the island have been imported there by an immigrant human population of relatively recent immigration status. For instance, vanilla, corn and groundnut are from America; pepper plant, bananas, mango and rice from Asia; and coffee and vigna from Africa.

While seven government agencies perform agricultural research in Madagascar, the private sector participation in research is increasing. NGOs are relatively new in Madagascar but achieved great advancement in agricultural research. The National Centre of Applied Research and Rural Development (FOFIFA) is the largest research agency in Madagascar, responsible for more than half the total agricultural research spending.

Important crops being researched are rice, vegetables, cotton, potatoes, corn, and coffee. Most of the plant breeding activities focus on germplasm enhancement.

The most limiting factor of Madagascar plant breeding activities is the inadequate number of breeders of each crop. Indeed, the country had a low number of national researchers, mostly with low-level training. Moreover, Madagascar experienced a dramatic decrease in public agricultural R&D budget. This is the result of funding which has been fairly dependent on government contributions, World Bank loans, and contributions from external donors.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public institutes

National center of applied research for rural development

National Center of Applied Research for Rural Development (FOFIFA)
Website available in French

FOFIFA is the largest research agency in Madagascar, responsible for more than half the total agricultural research spending. It was created in 1974 as a semi-autonomous institute under the Ministry of Rural Development, with an aim of unifying national agricultural research, the Malagasy government then entrusted to the FOFIFA the activities of research undertaken by the seven French institutes gathered within CIRAD and ORSTOM. FOFIFA’s infrastructure consists of 5 scientific departments and 8 satellite stations throughout the country.

University of Antananarivo

Biotechnology and Plant Breeding Unit – Unité de Biotechnologie et de Sélection (UBS) du laboratoire de Physiologie végétale, Université d'Antananarive
Website available in French

UBS is one of the research units of the Laboratory of Plant Physiology of the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology - Faculty of Science, University of Antananarivo. The Laboratory of Plant Physiology started to work on plant breeding in 1997. For the moment, this unit deals only with rice genetic improvement. Tissue culture and doubled haploids of various rice mutant lines, as well as of the F1 generation are the main research subjects of the unit. As a university laboratory, its capacity is used by students to prepare their “DEA” and Doctorate degrees.

No Website

Malagasy-Norway co-operation on Livestock and Agriculture (FIFAMANOR) – Coopération Madagascar-Norvège pour le Développement de l’élevage et l’agriculture
Document available in French

FIFAMANOR was established in 1972, at the end of a bilateral agreement between Madagascar and Norway. The principal objective is improving the standard of living of the farmers in the region of Vakinankaratra of the High plateau, by promoting the production of milk and the dairy sector, along with cereal production, particularly wheat, triticale, and potatoes. At the beginning it was a development project, but this project was transformed into a public institution with an administration and an autonomous financing in 1992. From 1994 to 1999, the zootechnical part was financed by the World Bank through the Sectorial stock breeding programme (PSE).

Private institutes

Horticultural Technical Center of Tamatave

Horticultural Technical Center of Tamatave (CTHT) - Centre Technique Horticole de Tamatave
Website available in French

Established in 2000, CTHT is an inter-professional association, under the supervision of the Malagasy Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing (MAEP). CTHT has as an objective: the organization, the promotion and the representation of the horticultural sectors of the east-coast of Madagascar and more specifically those of the province of Tamatave.

Horticulatural Technical Center of Antananarivo

Horticultural Technical Center of Antannarivo (CTHA) – Centre Technique Horticole d’Antananarive
Website available in French

Established in 2002, CTHA has a mandate to provide technical service to the horticultural commodities (fruits, vegetables, decorative plants) in order to contribute to the development and the promotion of horticultural products. The CTHA supports research on fruits, vegetables and ornamental plant commodities adapted to the moderate climate. The CTHA has two test stations -Nanisana (Antananarivo) and Ambano (Antsirabe)- and uses a laboratory of in vitro culture located at Ambatobe.


Information by Jeannot Ramelison (2009) - Information based on the Madagascar's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 03-03-2010, GIPB.