011 322 44 56 | mail@example.com
The Alaotra Rice Bowl

The Alaotra Rice Bowl

Alaotra’s Agricultural Heartland

The RN 44 highway and a railway line connect Moramanga to the Alaotra basin, located 160 km to the north. This 1,800 km² depression is dominated by Lake Alaotra, Madagascar’s largest lake. The effective water management of this 182 km² “great sea” has transformed the region into one of the island’s primary rice granaries.

The key urban centres within the basin are Ambatondrazaka, situated to the lake’s south, Amparafaravola to the west, Andilamena to the north, and Imerimandroso to the east.

Seventy-four bird species find sanctuary in this lake, designated as a biological reserve. Notably, two species, the Madagascar pochard and the Delacour’s grebe, are believed to breed exclusively here.

The Sihanaka People

The Sihanaka, or “lake dwellers,” historically engaged in raids against neighboring communities – the Betsimisaraka to the east, the Sakalava to the west, and the Merina to the south – until they were driven to the shores of Lake Alaotra by Andrianampoinimerina in the early 19th century.

Long dedicated to irrigated rice cultivation, the Alaotra basin experienced significant development following the railway’s construction in 1922 and the substantial influx of settlers from Réunion in the 1950s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *