Committed to protecting the forests with the Voiala project.
WHY FAVINI HAS TAKEN ACTION IN MADAGASCAR
Madagascar, located in the Indian Ocean off the south-eastern coast of Africa, is the world’s fourth-largest island. Its environmental struggles are evident.
The island’s rainforest has been almost entirely destroyed as a result of a number of factors: industrial agriculture (especially of coffee, which is increasing given its high value), the local custom of using coal made from felled trees as fuel, and cattle farming, which has grown considerably in recent times even though it was introduced over 1,000 years ago.
Madagascar’s limited resources have been exploited for over 2,000 years. The island’s almost total deforestation has caused soil degradation, loss of indigenous flora and fauna, and desertification. Furthermore, the country’s population of 22.5 million people is growing at a rate of 2.9% per year, while GDP per capita remains one of the lowest in the world. Nine out of ten people in Madagascar live on less than 2 dollars a day.
While the government has signed many international accords to protect its environment, these are not always easily enforced. For all these reasons, Favini has decided to intervene in Madagascar in an attempt to restore parts of the rainforest that have been destroyed.
THE VOIALA PROJECT
Voiala is a long-term environmental, economic and social project that began in 2005. On the one hand, it involves reforesting parts of Madagascar’s lost rainforest, and on the other, it aims to raise awareness and provide training so that members of the Sahavondronina community, who are primarily corn and peanut farmers, improve their agricultural practices.
The location was chosen because the hills near the village have suffered extreme deforestation and adjacent fields had become sterile prior to Favini’s intervention.
The initiative’s main goal, therefore, is to promote the development of a more sustainable farming system that is respectful of the rainforest and local ecosystems.
This can also become a model for other communities, who can thus benefit from improved living standards. The project also aims to protect the over 2,077 hectares of virgin forest that surround the village and promote ecotourism in the area. In 2016, the initiative was given fresh impetus with the approval of funding to support local communities in the period 2017-2020.
By providing equipment, specialised training and best practice knowledge, the seven communities – Sahavondronina, Sariana, Ambohibory Andrefana, Amboditanjona, Ambalamarina, Sahamavo and Andoharena – have been encouraged to undertake beekeeping through the Voiala project.
Bees have rediscovered their natural habitat in the reforested areas and the operation also had a positive economic impact: thanks to revenue from honey sales, several local residents were able to pay for their children’s education.
THE ADVANCE OF THE NEW FOREST
Reforestation relies on the participation of local residents, who clear weeds, fertilise the soil and plant the local species being reintroduced.
The project supervisor provides Favini with detailed reports regarding the progress of seeding and planting activities, creation of community allotments and development of strategies to promote ecotourism. A financial account of all activities is submitted as well.
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.
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.
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.
An evergreen tree that usually grows about 4 – 13 metres tall. The timber is widely utilized locally.
Every year we evaluate new proposals from Voiala about additional projects for the delivery of works and the start of activities for the community. Some examples: A drinking water well, a granary to store the harvest, an orchard, beekeeping equipment and agroforestry.
Our multi-year commitment to the Voiala project is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals by United Nations. In particular, with our support for the project in Madagascar, we respond to the principles:
- 1 fight poverty;
- 2 fight hunger;
- 4 support education;
- 13 fight climate change;
- 15 protect the earth’s ecosystem.
Explore our Sustainability areas to discover all the SDGs pursued by Favini.