A project funded by Mars and Danone will help smallholder farmers in Madagascar restore vanilla quality while reducing poverty.
The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming aims to triple farmers’ revenues and provide companies with fully traceable vanilla over the next ten years.
With vanilla prices highly volatile and extreme weather events decimating crops, many Madagascan vanilla farmers have been stuck in a poverty trap in recent years.
The project, which is also funded by Veolia and Firmenich, consists of an innovative model where farmers and industry players share both benefits and risks.
Working with 3,000 family farms, the initiative aims to improve production, as well as food security for farmers. Fanamby, a Madagascan NGO with extensive experience working with vanilla producers, will implement the project.
Farmers will be trained over five years on sustainable practices to increase vanilla productivity and quality through agroforestry techniques.
A new farmer-owned cooperative, structured with Fanamby’s support, will seek to connect producers more directly to markets, and will collect the vanilla, cure it and export it to the project partners.
Through this work, it is estimated that around 60% of the cured vanilla’s value will go back to farmers (instead of 5% to 20% today).
Danone, Firmenich and Mars have pledged to purchase significant volumes of vanilla for their own products and brands.
Livelihoods Venture president Bernard Giraud said: “We believe the Livelihoods vanilla project can make a difference because it enables farmers to regain control of their vanilla production, and vanilla users of their sourcing.
“Through the Livelihoods Fund, private companies, NGOs and public authorities can combine their commitments and efforts to support a mutually beneficial model over the long term in the economic, social and environmental spaces.”
The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming was created in 2015. It will invest €120 million to build sustainable agricultural supply chains in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020