Combating child malnutrition with beans

Photo credit: CIAT blog

Beans to the rescue in the fight against child malnutrition and school absenteeism in Madagascar 

Biofortified beans to defeat micronutrients deficiencies

by Stefanie Neno


Madagascar is known for its sunny beaches and scuba diving. What many don’t know is that nine out of ten Malagasy people live below the poverty threshold, according to a 2013 World Bank report. Madagascar is among the world’s least developed countries. And the political crisis that hit the country between 2009 and 2013 caused further economic slowdown, and an increase in poverty and marginalization.×200.jpg

Half of Malagasy children are stunted due to chronic malnutrition and severe micronutrient deficiencies. “The rate of chronic malnutrition is still very high in Madagascar,” says Holy Raobelina, Coordinator of the Office for National Nutrition (ONN). “The MDG1  survey recently reported a national average of 47.3%.”


Two birds with one stone: Fighting malnutrition and improving school results

Holy is part of a team of motivated people from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Women Promotion, who are kicking off an ambitious program to fight child malnutrition in the entire country.


This program involves reviving the national school feeding system, which was unfortunately abandoned in 2009 due to the political crisis.

To demonstrate that school canteens can indeed improve the state of child nutrition in Madagascar, a 5-month pilot was coordinated by ONN in an Antananarivo primary school between March and July 2013.

Read the full article: CIAT blog

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