Environmental projects

Virgin forest in Madagascar that has been lost since 1950.

Why Favini has chosen to intervene in Madagascar

Environmental problems in Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, situated in the Indian Ocean off the south-eastern coast of Africa, are evident. The country’s rainforest has been almost entirely destroyed due to several factors: intensive agriculture (particularly used the growing of coffee, which is increasing and is a significant source of income); the local custom of using charcoal derived from the wood of cut-down trees; and cattle farming, which has increased significantly since its introduction into the country 1000 years ago.
Species in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth. Safeguarding their habitat means protecting biodiversity and people.
Madagascar has seen 2000 years of exploitation of its limited resources. Deforestation, now almost entire, has caused soil degradation, the loss of indigenous flora and fauna, and desertification. Furthermore, the country’s population (over 22.5 million people) is constantly growing (at a rate of 2.9%), whilst pro capita income is among the lowest in the world: 90% of the population lives with less than 2 dollars a day. Although the local government has signed many international agreements for the safeguarding of the environment, the enforcement of these agreements is often very difficult. For all these reasons Favini has decided to intervene in Madagascar, in the attempt to restore part of the forest that has been lost.
Through the Voiala project, Favini wants to protect part of Madagascar’s remaining rainforest near the Sahavondronina community, a village situated in the northeast of the island.

What is the Voiala project

Voiala is a long-term project that began in 2005, operating in the environmental, economic and social areas. On the one hand it involves the reforestation of a part of the forest that has been lost in Madagascar. Whilst on the other, education and awareness-building directed at the villagers in Sahavondronina. These villagers are mainly corn and peanut farmers, and the project aim is to improve their agricultural understanding and practices. This location was specifically chosen because the hills near the village had seen heavy deforestation and because prior to the intervention promoted by Favini, the fields surrounding the village were effectively sterile.
Favini actively operates in Sahavondronina (Androy District) conducting training on environmental projects. These contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture, and support the forest safeguard through reforestation and strategies that promote ecotourism.
The initiative’s principal goal is to support the development of a more sustainable agricultural system, respectful of the forest and local ecosystem. This in turn may act as a model for other communities who can therefore enjoy a better quality of life.The project aims to safeguard the 2,000 hectares of surviving intact virgin forest adjacent to the village and incentivise forms of ecotourism in the area. In 2016, a new impetus has been given to the project by the assurance of funds that are ear-marked to support local communities from 2017 to 2020. Voiala project also engages local community with activities connected to bees. They can indeed learn apiculture and have free instruments to start raising bees. Favini also operated in villages next to Sahavondronina, such as Alakamisy Ambohimaha District and Fianarantsoa, where projects ended in 2015. Moreover, there are some ongoing projects in Maneva, Alakamisy Ambohimaha e Ambohidramasy.
Hectares of forest that must be reforested by 2020 through the Voiala project.

The new forest advancements

According to the reforestation plan, villagers will be engaged in clearing the ground from invasive grasses, also in soil fertilisation using manure and in the physical planting of local species that are to be reintroduced.
Through the Voiala project Favini has helped the community of Sahavondronina and the surrounding villages retake control of its territory. It is becoming a sustainable development model for other communities.
Every three months the project manager provides Favini with detailed reports. These show the plans and progress of planting activities, the yield of orchards created by the community, the development of strategies to promote ecotourism, as well as a financial summary of the project.
Trees will be planted within 2020.

The species planted

DALBERGIA BARONII (Family: Fabaceaes) Hard and heavy wood, dark brown, resistant to termites and fungi. Used to make furniture and for turning.. PHYLLARTHRON ARTICULATUM (Family: Bignoniaceae) A tree that grows up to 20-25 metres in height and produces yellow fruits. Once dried they turn brown and have the consistency and flavour of dried bananas. CANARIUM MADAGASCARIENSIS (Family: Burséracéeses) Grows up to 40-50 metres in height. It has an important role in enriching degraded soil. Its wood is used in the construction of pirogues (canoe boats) and its seeds are edible, whilst the bark’s resin has a distinctive scent. ACACIA MANGIUM It can reach heights of up to 30 metres and thanks to its rapid growth and capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen it is well adapted to growing in bare and nitrogen-poor soil. ALBIZIA GUMMIFERA A wood is of medium density, very resistant and it does not change shape. Easily worked but is not resistant to termites or water. It is useful as a generic wood and is used to build hives, troughs and boats. MORINGA OLIFERA (Family: Moringaceae) A fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 10–12 m. COFFEA ROBUSTA (Family: Rubiaceae) A plant that is less susceptible to pests and disease, as well as thermal shocks. PODOCARPUS MADAGASCARIENSIS An evergreen tree that usually grows about 4 - 13 metres tall. The timber is widely utilized locally.