Reducing malnutrition through the baobab superfruits in western Madagascar

Helping women to store and transform baobab fruits to be used as food supplement during the hungry months and source of income year-round

Photo of Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Madagasikara Voakajy

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Madagascar

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Region Menabe


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

- In 2012, half of Malagasy children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. Menabe Region is one of the most affected area; - Baobabs fruits can help tackling this problem, however population of the most consumed species (Grandidier's baobab) while the fruits of the two sympatric species are wasted; - Chances are high that Grandidier's baobab fruits and derived products will be demanded on the international market, hence people might prefer to sell the fruits instead of eating them; - I will help preventing this.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

1. I will train and equip women from five villages to extract baobab powder and oil from the fruits; 2. With the health professionals of the villages, I will engage mothers to give baobab powders as supplement to their children during the hungry months and monitor their health 3. With Label CBD (a partner organization), I will put the baobab oil on the national and international market with a sustainably harvested baobab fruit label 4. I will monitor how this project impacts people's, especially children and mothers, health, income and general livelihood, and on baobab populations 5. I will engage all stakeholders to become baobab conservation ambassadors. This would be the value they will share: between actors, between ages.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The project follows on from a pilot project undertaken by MV and LCBD in Bepeha and Betainkilotsy in 2016-17. During this pilot, each of the villages were given training and resources to produce baobab powder. The products that the communities manufactured were bought by LCBD and assessed for quality. We now know that communities can produce products of marketable quality, potentially providing higher income. The next steps are to strengthen the value chain at the community level by: (i) enhancing food safety standards in compliance with the requirements of quality, health, safety and respect for the environment by improving existing transformation units; and (ii) improving access to the local and national market in order to establish equitable price for the baobab derived products.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

During it's first five years, this initiative will be supported mainly by grants. However, we expect that the amounts of the grants needed would decrease from 100% in Y1 to at least 50% in Y5. While the grants decrease, we expect the earned income to increase progressively. By Y12, I expect that the women groups running the transformation units will be totally independent. Women group independency is taking 12 years because most of the women at the target villages are illiterate. It is therefore difficult for them to approach and negotiate on the market. This project will therefore include different capacity building elements every year. We expect that companies buying the products from the women group will contribute to the project, and donations will be provided by visitors.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

This initiative is unique in that: 1. We will promote use of non-threatened baobab species to reduce pressure on the threatened one; 2. In addition to tackling children malnutrition and low income for people, we will also assess and restore baobab populations and their habitats

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The video attached with this entry is of a child at one of the village where this initiative was piloted. He is so bright and happy, whenever he hears a music he would dance. His parents wanted him to go to school and have a better life, but they were not able to afford it. What can I do to help? I didn't have an answer then (2014). I read about baobab harvesting and benefits to people in Africa. I then met with the leader of the Label CBD (a Malagasy NGO) who wanted to test and pilot the transformation of baobab fruits. We instantly started raising funds to implement the pilot. Now that we have done this first stage, we are ready for the next one.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

There is so much health potential in the baobab fruit, I wish you all the success in using it to help combat malnutrition!

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