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To lay the groundwork for economic colonization, General Joseph Simon Gallieni
Created in February 1897, the Test Gardens of colonial cultures. Its object is to give the settlers, as soon as they arrive, a guide of the cultures appropriate to the country and to make for them the tests which would ruin them and put them off.
A property of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony, located in Nanisana on about ten hectares, is assigned to the first Garden of tests. Since then, by successive purchases, the area has been increased by several neighboring rice fields and woods.
In certain parts the soil is good, and the plants are acclimatized to them from the beginning, under better conditions. In other parts, the less fertile soil is
Seeded endemic plants to serve as a point of comparison.
Work on the development of the garden, begun in February, is accelerated so that the service can operate the same year. Fifty Malgaches work on breaking test plots, drawing paths, constructing sheds for delicate seedlings, etc.
In addition, by order of March 16 of the same year, the Governor General supplements the organization of the Jardin de Nanisana by creating a bouverie and
fold. It thus proposes to supply all the plants, seeds, cuttings, young animals, etc., which the Europeans and the local population may need.
In order to obtain good seeds, he does not neglect any means. It is addressed to various sources, in France and in the colonies, as in Reunion Island and up to Cochin China, but also in other countries to obtain tree species, including mango trees, camphor trees …
Moreover, it wants to introduce varieties of tobacco (especially the Havana variety) and cotton, better than those grown in Imerina. Not to mention the planting of cocoa and coffee.
This attempt is not initiated in the Garden of Nanisana alone. In February, too, Captain Freystatter began a similar experiment on the banks of the Ikopa near the large market town of Soavinimerina.
The purpose of this agricultural installation is to introduce the natives to the cultivation of tobacco and fruit trees in Europe, to revive the cultivation of the cotton plant abandoned in these places for more than twenty years, and to create nurseries Trees necessary to plant along roadsides.
Finally, General Gallieni decided to create museums where the products
Agricultural products and local manufactured goods. The first is established in Antananarivo, in the Queen’s Palace, Manjakamiadana.
In fact, “the work of our resident general is praiseworthy, and what solid support must be given to him in France by all who are interested in the future of Madagascar. The agricultural wealth which he wishes to endow our colony will be the surest guarantee of the appeasement of the spirits, and then of a prosperity which will never be denied “(Bulletin of the Committee of Madagascar, 1897).