Participatory Erosion Control Project (“PLAE”)

In Madagascar erosion and degradation of watersheds occur at an alarming rate due to inappropriate land use techniques, uncontrolled bush fires and rapid population growth. This entrains the sedimentation of irrigation infrastructure and paddy fields and leads to reduced agricultural productivity. The rural population has to cover their need for fuel wood and timber through illegal use of forest resources – often from inside protected areas, which threatens the country’s unique biodiversity. Unsecure rights of tenure further aggravate the situation.

The “Participatory Erosion Control Programme”, PLAE, a component of the Malagasy-German Environmental Programme, aims at the sustainable management of watersheds and the protection of irrigation perimeters. PLAE stretches out over the biggest rice producing areas of Madagascar which often border the national parks. The programme works with farmers at the grassroot level and has a process-oriented approach. Improved land-use techniques are being introduced and farmers advised on putting them into practice. Plantation of trees for fuel and construction on eroded land secures income to the individuals.

In the current phase (2014-2018) PLAE operates in two regions covering six districts and 35 communes, with 140 village-based organisations implementing the programme. In the selected communes PLAE assists to establish secured land tenure rights to individual farmers and tree planters to ensure sustainability of erosion control measures. For the process of secured land tenure rights the decentralised communal administration receives training and organisational support as a means to enhance good governance. Furthermore, households shall benefit from additional income generated by fuel wood, preferably after transformation to charcoal. Thus the project also contributes to poverty alleviation.

Type of services provided:

  • Management and financial administration of the entire programme, including a substantial development fund on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Formulation and mainstreaming of a national erosion control strategy for the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Assistance in land use planning, land titling and enforcement of related conventions
  • Technical advice for adapting agricultural practices to climate change mitigation, i.e. mechanical erosion control, soil-friendly no tillage agriculture, pasture management, large-scale village afforestation, bushfire and forest fire management
  • Transformation of established project teams into NGOs to act as service providers for village-based organisations
  • Support to village groups and associations in planning, management and monitoring
  • Co-financing of communal infrastructure and large-scale erosion control measures
  • Use of a previously established training centre as a knowledge hub, primarily for internal dissemination, but also for other projects and public service organisations
  • Dissemination of lessons learnt by farmers exchange visits
  • Design and implementation of a sophisticated and innovative system to monitor the project’s physical and socio-organisational impact.
Ministry of Agriculture
04/1998 – 06/2018
Contract value: 17,15 million €