Dear supporters and friends,
Despite the current volatile and complicated political situation in Madagascar Zahana is working in both villages. Our work is needed more than ever. This report by email from May 19, 2010 illustrates the impact of the economic crisis:
“The villagers got a good rice harvest this year, but what is sad is the price, they can get for it. During our last site visit the farmers complained about the price they could get for their harvest. This year they can only get of 360 Ariary per kg (less then 20 US cents per kg, or 10 cents per US pound), while it was over 600 Ariary per kg in 2009. To give you and idea what that means for them: to buy 1kg of sugar, 250 grams of salt and one small piece of soap they have to sale 10 kg of rice. This is beyond unfair, to grow that rice took almost half year, it is a way to kill the farmers and they will consider giving up planting rice at all.
To counteract this trend we decided on a small rice business project with the women’s group. They bought 2 metric tons at 400 Ariary the kg with the help of a generous donor. This time it is a business venture, not for our communal seeds bank. The plan is: the women’s group will sell the rice at a later date when the price will have gone up to 600 Ariary so they benefit from the price increase and can share the cash profit.”