Agriculture is an important part of the national economy of the five member states of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC): Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. In these countries, agriculture faces many challenges, for example, pests and diseases, which are widespread on crops with high economic potential such as fruit and vegetables.
Because of their proximity and similarity, the island ecosystems of the five member countries of the IOC share many pest problems. A number of these problems have been solved thanks to cooperation between plant protection services and agriculturalresearch during the first IOC Regional Program of Plant Protection, between 2003 and 2008.
Ensuring future food production
New threats have recently emerged. These threats are linked to global pressures including biodiversity loss, climate change and food and energy shortages. This has served to highlight the need for the IOC countries to ensure their future food and energy production by sharing their agricultural knowledge and data in certain key sectors.
In 2008, a second program was launched to consolidate the gains of the first PRPV program and sustain the existing network by developing partnerships between countries of the IOC. This new e-PRPV program aims to expand and sustain the plant protection network. It is funded until 2013 by European Regional Development Fund, French Government, Regional Council of Reunion, General Council of Reunion, CIRAD (Operationnal Programme for Territorial Cooperation), at a cost of more than 2 million Euros.
Through this program, Reunion is involved in the "Regional Climate Change and Agroecology Initiative"(IRACC), administered by the Indian Ocean Commission and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Both projects endeavor to promote agroecological techniques in the Indian Ocean to help small-scale agriculture to adapt to climate change, while improving the income and living conditions of producers.
e-PRPV in action
The e-PRPV team consists of:
- chairman, Eric Jeuffrault, DAAF, responsible for regional cooperation,
- chief scientist,Bernard Reynaud, CIRAD, director of the Plant Protection Pole (3P),
- technical assistance, including a communications officer, Sophie Della Mussia (webportal), an assistant librarian, Micheline Baptist, and a computer scientist, Henri Brouchoud (database).
The members of e-PRPV include the DAAF, CIRAD, University of Reunion, the National Museum of Natural History, ANSES, Armeflhor, FDGDON, Farre Reunion, AROP-FL and e-Koal.
The e-PRPV project comprises:
Component 1: Education and Awareness
• The establishment of an information and outreach strategy for Agroecology
Component 2: Sharing of Knowledge and Expertise
• The promotion and use of the regional pest database created by the PRPV (CIRAD, ANSES, FDGDON)
• The creation and development of the web portal for exchange of information and discussion on agriculture and biodiversity in the Indian Ocean (CIRAD)
Component 3: Improving the operationalcapacities of stakeholders
• The strengthening of diagnosis centers (FDGDON, CIRAD)
• The establishment of a web platform for coordination of the various members(e-Koal, CIRAD)
Component 4: Support for small farms
• Monitoring and management of major pest populations in the Indian Ocean (CIRAD)
• Improving the quality of cultivated soils through co-composting, alternatives to chemical fertilization (FARRE Reunion)
• Encouraging sustainable farming by educating producers (FARRE Reunion) and the small-scale use of pesticides (Armefhlor)
• Encouraging organic agriculture by establishing a pilot production of organic corn in Madagascar for organic feed in Reunion, in collaboration with the Qualireg project (CIRAD, ATM)
• Establishing a honey tracking and monitoring network in collaboration with the Qualireg project (MNHN, University, CIRAD)
• The establishment of exchange visits for producers (AROP-FL) on lychees and onions in Madagascar