The meeting was officially opened by Mr Rakotoson Philibert the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture in the presence of Dr Arsene Ralambofiringa the Permanent Secretary for Livestock. A total of 40 participants from different stakeholder groups attended: 50% government, 10% NGOs, 28% researchers/academia and 12% farmers unions.
In his opening speech Mr. Philibert mentioned that "Low agricultural productivity is the main reason for food crisis in Africa. The solution to the crisis requires support to producers. Let me be clear: our farmers are no different from those of other countries in the world. They have the ability to respond to change and significantly improve the supply of food by increasing local production. They just need help! Policies imposed by external programs of 'structural adjustment' have prevented tens of millions of farmers from escaping poverty, and made it difficult to invest in developing their business or in marketing their products. FANRPAN missionaries arrived at the right time to revive this process because it will allow us to align our Agriculture Sector Programme (PSA) with regional CAADP."