As part of the CRMF integrated approach to combatting hunger and poverty we partner with programs that enable families to grow and maintain their own food source.
Chronic undernourishment now afflicts at least 38% of Madagascar’s population, and among Madagascar’s children, 50% suffer from stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.
Suffer from malnutrition
This initiative, sponsored by the BVM Hunger Fund involves the development of nutritious mushrooms that can be locally grown and harvested. Like the SEEDS project, this program promotes learning and self sufficiency among the poor by offering them much needed training in the cultivation of nutritious options for feeding their families and for generating income. An agricultural technician from India came to Toamasina to assist in testing and growing mushroom spawn, and participants were trained to sow the seeds and cultivate the full grown mushrooms. Once training is complete, the literacy students can take their new learning home with them and grow mushrooms in their rural villages. Interest in the project was so great that the local Ministry of Agriculture has expressed interest in learning more about this project.
The SEEDS project is another component in our integrated approach. In 2010, through a grant from The Watson Foundation, CRMF was able to help a thousand families and thirty schools benefit from the donation of thousands of packets of fruit and vegetables seeds. Seed distribution took place through the CRMF literacy centers. Before the seeds were distributed, however, literacy students received lessons in home gardening. There were classes and practice in how to plant seeds, thin and care for the seedlings, and maintain a garden successfully. An agricultural specialist taught the students to identify insects that could harm the growing fruits and vegetables and students also learned about good nutrition and the value of incorporating fruits and vegetables into the family diet. The gardens growing today were started with seeds from last year’s plants.