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Agroecological practices on farm system resilience in Madagascar - AgrImpact


Evaluating the impact of agroecological practices on farm system resilience in Madagascar - AgrImpact

Research Institute

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Funding period

from: 01.04.2023
to: 30.09.2025

Country and Region

Madagascar; Anosy, Atsimo Atsinanana



Development Organisation

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Research Design

RCT; Climate Models

Project description

Short Description

Evaluating the impact of agroecological practices on farm system resilience in Madagascar –  AgrImpact

The agricultural sector is essential in the economies of the Global South, both in terms of food security in rural and urban areas as well as employment and livelihoods. At the same time, the agricultural sector is highly sensitive to a changing climate. Farmer field schools (FFS), a method of experiential adult agricultural education, are an established methodology in agricultural extension but are understudied when it comes to more systemic approaches such as agroecology, which are promising to increase resilience in the face of climate change.

DEval will fund a rigorous impact evaluation of the impact of farmer field schools on the application of agroecological practices and farm resilience in Madagascar.


Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island state. It is widely recognised for its rich biodiversity and its unique flora and fauna. At the same time, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Around 80% of Madagascar’s economically active population is (formally or informally) employed in the agricultural sector.

Madagascar’s southern regions are not only characterised by high food insecurity, but its agricultural sector is highly vulnerable to a changing climate. The most common climate hazards Madagascar is facing include shifting rainfall patterns, prolonged dry spells and droughts as well as heavy precipitation events and cyclones. These hazards threaten the agricultural sector and the livelihoods of rural communities, and are exacerbated by unsuitable agronomic management practices which contribute to a loss of soil fertility and low productivity.

Innovation & Method

The AgrImpact project provides an innovative approach to impact evaluations, both by assessing the current effectiveness of promoting agroecological practices through farmer field schools as well as by modelling their future effectiveness as an adaptation strategy to climate change in Madagascar.

Using an integrated design, the research team will first conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to measure the short-term effects of FFS promoting agroecological practices on productivity, food security and nutrition, income and labour use as well as on farmers’ mental models. Then, the research team will use climate impact models to project the effectiveness of these agroecological practices under different climate change scenarios, integrating empirical data collected during the RCT. Given expectations of a changing climate, this approach allows the researchers to create a scientific basis for both current and future development policy decisions, as today’s practices will not necessarily be suitable and efficient for solving challenges in future climates.

Expected results/Research questions

AgrImpact addresses the following research question: What are the (short-term) effects of supporting the adoption of agroecological practices on the resilience of smallholder farming systems, and will these practices be effective in the future?

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