Situated off the coast of Africa, Madagascar, nicknamed “La Grande Ile”, is the largest of the islands in the south-west Indian Ocean and the fifth-largest in the world, with an area of 592,000 km2. This vast territory offers a wide array of resources, the most famous of which is rice. Rice-growing only dates as far back as the 19th century, and in the capital of Antananarivo, five types of rice are available on the market, distinguished by colour, size and origin. Traditionally, Madagascans mainly consumed yams, as well as manioc and sweet potato. Thanks to the temperate climate in the highland areas, almost all fruits and vegetables are grown there, including carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans and asparagus. In addition to tropical fruits, apples, pears, peaches, apricots and even strawberries can be found in season between December and January. Cattle farming is very common, particularly that of zebu, although their milk is rarely consumed. Sea fishing and freshwater fishing are also an important source of food.