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The USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut Project Launch and Site Visits Madagascar


The USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut (Peanut Innovation Lab) hosted at the University of Georgia, Athens GA, USA invited Dr. Kalule Okello David to attend its Madagascar project introduction event on 24 January 2024 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar and join the team for project site visits between January 21 to February 3, 2024. The Peanut Innovation Lab seeks to transform agriculture in Africa – and specifically groundnut cultivation, storage, marketing and consumption – by fostering synergies and building research capacity on the continent, empowering farmers with resilient new varieties and production practices, creating and growing markets to consume groundnuts, and developing knowledge about gender and family dynamics so that youth and women are

empowered. Peanut Innovation Lab (PIL) brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in groundnut production, post-harvest handling and processing; gender research; and communications and training. In addition, the Peanut Innovation Lab has numerous consultants able to provide advice and recommendations in most areas along the groundnut value chain. The PIL projects are helping foster a network of groundnut breeders across Africa working together to use the genetic diversity of groundnuts to release improved varieties; develop best management practices to improve the quality and quality of farmer production; share insights into the role peanuts play in improving the nutrition and learning of school children; expand knowledge on gendered roles and intrahousehold income use and labour allocation in households that grow groundnuts; and assess barriers and opportunities for youth engagement in groundnut value chains.

The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) especially the National Groundnuts Improvement Programme located at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) Serere has been collaborating with USAID Feed the Future Peanut Innovation Lab and providing Leadership and a centre of excellence in the Eastern and Southern Africa. We were happy to be part of the team to enhance agriculture research in Madagascar.

The proposed activities in Madagascar, supported by the USAID Madagascar mission, are in collaboration with the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet (GCSM) based at Kansas State University, along with local public- and private-sector stakeholders.


The objectives are to

  • Improve the productivity and profitability of farmers by introducing new adapted varieties and agronomic practices for groundnut, sorghum and millet;
  • Enhance the agricultural value chain of these important commodities through the adoption of new technologies;
  • Strengthen the capacities of FOFIFA and other local partners in agricultural research for development.


The task commenced with the official launch graced by representatives of the Minister of Agriculture, USAID Mission, NGOs, Government officials, Other development partners and media.

The field visits involved being received by the site /trial manager, giving an account of the trial history, challenges, and opportunities and we debated on them highlighting the positives, negatives and what needed to be done moving forward.


  • Most sites lack basic agronomic practices, plant density, infield and boundary hygiene
  • Data collections are not harmonized and centralized
  • The data are manually taken and stored. Need for modernization and digitization like using tablets pre-loaded with field book and use of BMS suite
  • Trials near shade-making plants etiolate
  • Seed storage facilities are wanting


The potential for groundnuts in Madagascar is high. The introduced varieties from Senegal and Uganda are diverse and could fit the myriads of agroecologies and the market segments. There are already relatively big growers and the common variety is Fleur 11. There is a need to introduce new high-yielding tolerant and adapted varieties tested in growers’ fields and participatory selected by them. Potential to use big multipliers like JB Basan, and Sahanala to rapidly multiply Early generation Seeds for FOFIFA such that they are produced and distributed to scale

With the various agro-ecologies, many different varieties could be introduced per niche. There is a need to start agronomic studies on plant densities, rotation, intercropping, and fertigation such that upon release, all the packages to support the realization of the varieties are in place.

The various development initiatives need harmonization to avoid duplication and rationalization of resources.

Utilization of the NGOs in the region (e.g NGO Mazava) to set trials and manage trials help reinforce the collaborative works

Additionally, the government regulatory and certification bodies (Seed Control Services, Plant Protection Officers Services) need to be constantly updated on ongoing and planned activities for their prompt interventions. Support also needs to be given to such vital Government bodies to update their documents to match both national and regional bodies e.g strategies, policies, harmonization of regional releases (COMESA, ASERECA) and cataloguing.


  • Follow-up visit: our visit found when most groundnut crops were just flowering. Follow-up visits at maturity (Late March to Early April 2024 is needed) to properly assess the performances of the crop
  • Mapping out targeted production environments (TPE) is important. For instance, Hotspots for diseases and pests need identification
  • Retooling of the technicians to keep them in tandem with current operations is urgently needed
  • Need for attachments of the technicians at sites preferably in Senegal (ISRA/CERAAS and Uganda (NARO) for practical hybridization, agronomy, pathology, post-harvest handling and data management
  • Since Madagascar has diverse Agro-ecologies, matching various varieties to those agro-ecologies is needed. Having a Crop calendar detailing what, when and where to plant is key
  • Need for the development of dissemination materials supporting various disciplines
  • Madagascar is a signatory to various Regional Bodies but the paper works need harmonization e.g variety release, regional catalogue for released varieties
  • Digitize the data collection process instead of the current handwritten data in a book
  • Clearly mentioning the role of FOFIFA in the project




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