An irrigation project brings hope to an entire district

An irrigation project brings hope to an entire district

Fanja Saholiarisoa
Barrage Miary
UNICEF Madagascar/2020/Mamy Rakotomalala
01 September 2020

The population of Miary II, district of Toliary, in the southwest of Madagascar, is hoping for a good harvest from this year with the installation of the new 6.8 km irrigation canal. This conduit will henceforth be able to irrigate 4,000 square kilometers of land covering 3 municipalities in the Toliary district.

 "This is a new structure that can benefit 2,500 households and we hope for a nice crop this year", explained Soamahalay Vana, President of the association of users of the Fiherenana canal. Its role is to ensure good water management and the sustainability of infrastructures covering 4,000 square kilometers of irrigated fields.

The rural municipality of Miary II used to be a productive area but it has really suffered from the consequences of climate change through devastating floods. The Fiherenena river actually overflows its banks almost every 30 years, thus causing flooding.

Furthermore, the Fiherenana river is drying up every year and there is a real lack of water, thus making the population extremely vulnerable and weakening their adaptive capacity to the effects of climate change. This increases the high vulnerability of the local population – who is economically weak and has no productive infrastructure and no basic services.

Being aware of the vulnerability of the population, UNICEF and UNDP through the Global Environment Fund have financed the rehabilitation of the irrigation canal with the establishment of a dam to strengthen the resilience of the population.

The objective of the intervention was to enhance the immediate capacity of the municipality to respond effectively to food security in order to promote better water management in the context of available rainfall and water: “We are very positive about this irrigation system,” said Soahamalay Vana. UNICEF supported the recruitment of a company and local officials as well as some stakeholders from the public and private partnership contributed thereto. In collaboration with the team from the Atsimo Andrefana Region, the company ensures the cleaning work on the 6.8km canal.

“It's heartwarming to see that our field is watered and green. Even if rice cultivation is taboo here at the level of the plain, we try to vary several cultures,” concluded Vana.

Since the rehabilitation of these infrastructures in the irrigated perimeter of Miary, the peasants could vary their cultivation: sweet potatoes, lentils, melons. They also cultivated sugar cane, cotton and artemesia.

Curage a l’entrée de la prise de Bemia
UNICEF Madagascar/2020/Mamy Rakotomalala
Ouvrage partiteur de Miary
UNICEF Madagascar/2020/Mamy Rakotomalala