Countries / Territories

Country Profile Madagascar



    Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, separated from the southeastern coast of Africa by the Mozambique Channel. The country extends 1,600 km from north to south and up to 570 km wide. Its area totals 587,041 km2, which makes it the fourth largest island in the world. The climate varies by region: coastal areas are warm, humid and tropical, while the inland region enjoys temperate conditions; the south is almost always dry.

    Agricultural sector

    Agriculture is a mainstay of Madagascar's economy, accounting for more than one fourth of GDP, contributing 70 % of export earnings and employing about 80 % of the population. However, because of the mountainous terrain, only 5 % of Madagascar is farmed. The chief food crop is rice, which is grown on about one half of the agricultural land. Other important food crops are cassava, sweet potatoes, fresh vegetables, bananas, maize and beans. Leading export crops are vanilla, cloves, fruits, cocoa, sugarcane, coffee, sisal and cotton (FAO, 14.07.2006).

    Overview of organic farming

    Madagascar's organic sector remains very small. Only about 129 hectares are under organic cultivation, which accounts for less than 0.005 % of the total agricultural area (IFOAM & FiBL 2006). Several attempts to develop a commercial organic sector in Madagascar have foundered because of poor quality produce, poor communication between buyers and sellers, non-competitive prices and high transport costs. Another obstacle, that continues to inhibit growth, is the general lack of awareness about certification and logistical requirements (IFOAM 2003). Improving the situation of Malagasy organic agriculture requires further investment in training, market information and certification capacity.

    Key organic products

    Main organic exports from Madagascar include cocoa, sugar, coffee, palm oil, processed fruits, pepper and vanilla. In addition, Malagasy farmers grow a variety of organic spices and herbs on a small scale such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves, chillies, nutmeg and essential oils (IFOAM 2003). A number of companies have made several attempts to produce and export organic fresh fruits and vegetables from Madagascar. However, until now, virtually all failed to succeed (FAO/ITC/CTA 2001). Small-scale farmers produce most organic products, while commercial companies are active in processing, grading and exporting.

    The network

    The main organic organisation in Madagascar is PROMABIO. Founded in 1993 by three entrepreneurs under the name PROBIOMAD, it has now expanded to include 15 members (IFOAM 2003). PROMABIO is a member of IFOAM. The association aims to represent the interests of its members by following its main objectives of promoting organic agriculture, supporting producers, processors and exporters of organic products and developing the brand name " PROMABIO ".

    Trade group of organic agriculture operators
    Coordinator: Rolland Rambotiana
    B.P. 1348
    101 Antananarivo, Madagascar
    Tel./Fax: + 261 20 22 259 14

    External Support

    The Madagascar organic agriculture sector has been receiving support from the following external organisations amongst others:

    Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE)
    Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP)
    Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
    GTZ/Protrade (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit)
    International Trade Centre (ITC)
    International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)
    U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 


    • IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 27-35.
    • IFOAM (2003): Organic and Like-Minded Movements in Africa. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, pp.102-108.
    • FAO, 14.07.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division. URL: and
    • FAO/ITC/CTA (2001): World Markets for Organic Fruit and Vegetables. International Trade Centre (ITC), Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome 2001.