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Madagascar

Cultivation of rice in Madagascar



One of the biggest consumers in the world.

Madagascar is one of the countries that consumes the most rice in the world; it's the main food in Malagasy dishes. Here, rice is eaten in all forms and at any time of day. In the morning, in Mokary or in Mofo Gasy, types of rice cakes made from rice powder mixed with water and cooked in a special mould. It's especially good soaked in coffee! At lunch and dinner, it's in absolutely all dishes, which typically contain a lot of rice and a little side dish, like some vegetables or a bit of zebu.

For example, during my last stay in Madagascar, my Malagasy friends and I figured out how much rice we had eaten in 6 months. The result: during the 6 months spent in Madagascar, we had eaten more than 155 pounds of rice each!

Silver water, the national beverage

Rice is even enjoyed in drinks: Ranon’ampango or Ranovola, literally "Silver water." Once rice is finished cooking, the cook pours some water in the bottom of the pot, which still has some rice stuck to the bottom from cooking. She brings the water to a boil, whilst mixing it with the rice that is stuck to the bottom of the pan, and then serves the drink in carafes that filter the large pieces of remaining rice.

The taste is peculiar to an unaccustomed palate, but you get used to it after some time, and it's particularly effective against traveller's diarrhoea!

Mofo Gasy preparation @Hoffmann Simon

A grain that is part of the landscape

Grown throughout the country, except in the extreme southern part of the island where the climatic conditions do not allow it, rice cultivation has a great influence on the landscape. The main Madagascar rice granaries are located in the Highlands, where it is grown in terraced fields, sometimes up to dizzying heights on extremely steep, sloping ground! At first, it is a beautiful light green, and then the rice slowly darkens before gradually drying out and becoming gold in colour. Once it has dried, it is then harvested and beaten to extract the grains from their hulls - all done by hand. Then it is ready to be consumed.

In my opinion, the sight of a rice field when it's all green is as effective as a relaxation session, and I hope that it has the same effect on you.

A rice with high nutritional quality but low yields

Rice grown in Madagascar, especially pink rice, is a type of rice that is much appreciated by connoisseurs because of its fragrant taste and nutritional quality. However, the climate, agricultural techniques and the landscape do not always lend themselves to growing the grain. Therefore, rice fields have rather low yields, which requires Madagascar to import rice, mainly from Asia, in order to compensate for the population's consumption of it.

Simon Hoffmann
193 contributions
Updated 17 September 2015
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