Sustainable Vanilla Partnership (Madagascar)

Unilever, its supplier Symrise, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have announced a partnership to improve the livelihoods of 4,000 vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava region through better access to secondary education and training in agricultural best practices via farmer field schools.This development partnership, which encourages increased vanilla productivity and crop diversification, includes a comprehensive three-year programme that will impact 32 communities and involve 44 schools and colleges, giving it the potential to improve 24,000 lives.
This is according to Dhaval Buch, Unilever’s chief procurement officer, who says that farmers will be able to earn more money from vanilla, improve their food self-sufficiency and also sell other crops during lean periods. “The integrated education programme will also support environmental education in primary schools through training teachers and providing teaching kits; and aims to establish a learning platform of rural agricultural colleges for vocational training of adolescents.”
Throughout the project equal opportunities will be provided to women and girl students since they represent about 50% of the communities and are actively involved in farm management – between 20 and 30% of the farmer households are headed up by women.
A previous partnership between Symrise and GIZ (working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) from 2010 to 2012 in the Diana-region of northern Madagascar showed promising results: 500 farmers were trained on sustainable agricultural practices, Fairtrade standards and principles of certification and marketing. They have increased their productivity and created 24% more income opportunities by expanding production to include other crops. –