When the National Road N°6 (RN 6) between Port-Bergé and Ambanja was rehabilitated in 2008, the issue of steel-wheeled zebu carts being used on the freshly renewed road had to be addressed. It is estimated that over 2,000 steel-wheeled zebu carts are circulating in this area, and even though steel wheels work a treat on rough dirt tracks, they have damaging effects on the tar and hence impair paved roads’ durability.
Lalana, under the framework of the social and gender actions program in support of the roadwork on the RN 6 (ASA MIARO), proposed a set of solutions to this issue. First, as paved road was something new to most people from the towns and villages around the RN 6, they were sensitized about the use of the road, the principles of road safety and the good behaviors that would help preserve the road. Second, farmers were introduced to carts with improved wheels that would not damage the road.
Lalana developed 3 cart prototypes to this effect: one with rubber-coated steel wheels, one with car tires, and one with interchangeable axles. The latter would allow users to put on a different set of wheels depending on the type of surface they ride on. In order to promote the initiative, Lalana has produced a film entitled "Savaly Vy" where the 3 carts prototypes can be seen.
Solutions to manufacture these improved wheels at the local level were later sought in collaboration with local associations, along with financial solutions for farmers, as switching to improved wheels could prove relatively expensive. Local authorities were also involved in order to find a sustainable solution to the issue. Unfortunately, like many development efforts, this one has been put on the back burner since the start of the political crisis in Madagascar in 2009.
Tiré du bulletin Fantatro n°2 – Mars 2013