Bittersweet vanilla: the unsavoury story of vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava Region
This report (PDF) by Fairfood and CNV Internationaal identifies interventions that will improve the situation of farmers in the vanilla value chain in Madagascar. The report examines the riches that vanilla production delivers, and the abject poverty many vanilla farmers experience. Vanilla is one of the most expensive and widely exported spices in the world, yet the large majority of the 80,000 smallholder vanilla farmers do not see this reflected in their income and are often even unable to provide food for themselves and their families. Fairfood and CNV Internationaal have devised a list of solutions to address these problems including measures to tackle vanilla theft, such as checkpoints, the tattooing of vanilla pods and the establishment of defence groups, as well as capacity training to help vanilla farmers organise and gain vital knowledge on topics such as modern agricultural techniques, financial planning, entrepreneurship. Fairfood has also held constructive dialogues with major multinationals who hold significant power in the value chain. Much of the power to effect change lies with these multinational companies. An integrated step-by step approach on five levels is recommended to effectively solve the issues: 1). At the level of the vanilla farmers; 2). At local community level; 3). At national government level; 4). At supply chain level; and 5). At consumer level.