Bittersweet Vanilla: the unsavoury story of vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava Region

Fairfood and CNV Internationaal’s latest report examines the riches that vanilla production delivers, and the abject poverty many vanilla farmers experience. Fairfood and CNV Internationaal’s report `Bittersweet Vanilla. The unsavoury story of vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava Region’ thoroughly investigates these issues in the vanilla market, and identifies a host of interventions that will improve the situation of farmers in Madagascar.

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. Indeed, more than 75 per cent of farmers live below the poverty line of $ 1.90 per day.

However, there are a number of concrete changes that can be made to ensure vanilla farmers have the possibility of a brighter future, and some companies are taking initial steps to remedy some of the problems. 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.

Key issues for farmers and proposed interventions

Bittersweet Vanilla-4

Read the report

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17 Farmers Doing Much More Than Putting Food on Your Plate – EcoWatch


EcoWatch
17 Farmers Doing Much More Than Putting Food on Your Plate
EcoWatch
Family farmers are key players in job creation and healthy economies, supplying jobs to millions and boosting local markets that are vulnerable to difficult climate and financial hardship, particularly because of the disproportionate amount of work

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Expecting labor help, South Georgia farmers get inspections instead – MyAJC


MyAJC
Expecting labor help, South Georgia farmers get inspections instead
MyAJC
Federal inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor conducted spot inspections of farms across South Georgia on Tuesday, a week after many farmers complained the agency has failed to properly process visa applications for migrant workers. “Wage and
Expecting labor help, farmers get inspections insteadAtlanta Journal Constitution

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Proposed Amazon dam attracts illegal loggers, threatens local farmers – Mongabay.com


Mongabay.com
Proposed Amazon dam attracts illegal loggers, threatens local farmers
Mongabay.com
The proposed São Luiz do Tapajós hydropower plant on the Tapajós River has seen a rapid uptick in criminal activity, as loggers and squatters try to force residents from their lands, and make homesteaders take part in illegal logging schemes. Federal

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Farmers struggle to get migrant workers – The Hendricks County Flyer


The Hendricks County Flyer
Farmers struggle to get migrant workers
The Hendricks County Flyer
FAMILY BUSINESS: The Horrall family has operated Melon Acres since 1976 and employs seasonal migrant workers. … Growers of fresh fruits and vegetables in Arizona and California claimed they'd lost $ 1 million each day of the two-week shutdown.
Farmers fear lag in worker visas will threaten cropsDanville Commercial News

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Fairfood in ‘Trouw’ article on problems facing vanilla farmers in Madagascar

Fairfood was mentioned in a recent article in the Dutch national newspaper Trouw about the economic hardships endured by vanilla farmers in Madagascar.

Premium prices, low wages

The article entitled ‘Topprijs vanilla levert boer weinig op’ (Premium price of vanilla delivers little in the way of benefit to farmers), outlines the fact that vanilla prices have risen tenfold – from $ 20 per kilo in 2012 to $ 200 per kilo in 2016. However, Fairfood mentions the ‘miserable position of Malagasy famers’, three quarters of whom survive on less than $ 1.90 per day. In their desperation to earn more money, Malagasy farmers harvested their vanilla too early, which subsequently affected its quality and reduced their profits. Fairfood also mentions the fact that many farmers have their profits reduced even further as a result of the widespread theft of this expensive commodity. These poor smallholder farmers also lack the skills to negotiate higher prices from food producers and spice houses.

20160427 Trouw Vanille

Fairfood’s vanilla project in Madagascar

Fairfood has been working with vanilla farmers in Madagascar for a number of years, in order to help them receive a fair price for their vanilla. Earning a fair price will give farmers an opportunity to break out of the poverty cycle and take better care of their families, invest in insurance to recover from unexpected externalities, invest in new crops, and have savings to fall back on.

Find out more about Fairfood’s vanilla project in Madagascar.

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Local farmers react to $15 minimum wage standard – Suffolk Times


Suffolk Times
Local farmers react to $ 15 minimum wage standard
Suffolk Times
In a ceremony Monday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo — flanked by Democratic legislators and his lieutenant governor — signed a state law that will gradually raise the minimum wage on Long Island to $ 15 an hour. Just before heading to a victory rally, Mr.

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Veterans behind Rumi Spice source saffron directly from Afghan farmers – FoodNavigator-USA.com


FoodNavigator-USA.com
Veterans behind Rumi Spice source saffron directly from Afghan farmers
FoodNavigator-USA.com
Since no machine can do the task, manual labor is required. An ounce of saffron in a tin from Rumi Spice costs $ 109, or $ 18.99 for a gram. The company also dabbles in spice blends, tea kits, and special packaging for gifts, all using the saffron

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Seeing Women Farmers Oppressed by Unequal Rules, You ‘Want to Do Something About It’ – World Bank Group


World Bank Group
Seeing Women Farmers Oppressed by Unequal Rules, You 'Want to Do Something About It'
World Bank Group
The World Bank's Gender in Agriculture team is working to change that. In time for International Women's Day, Agricultural Gender Specialist Sanna-Liisa Taivalmaa talks about how and why the Bank is helping women farmers get a leg up. 1. How are you …

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Celebrate international women’s day, empower female farmers to eradicate poverty!

Women play a huge role in producing the world’s food. Actually, the food on your plate today is very likely produced by a female farmer.

Every day, there are millions and millions of women working somewhere at this planet on a plantation, in a greenhouse or in a factory – packing fruits, vegetables, fish and meat with destination Europe. Many of these women are poor. But these hard-working women can play an important role in eradicating poverty.

However, female farmers and workers are often worse off than their male colleagues:

Do you agree that these hard-working women who produce our food should be empowered? Share this blog!

Are we missing any important facts? Leave them on Facebook or Twitter.

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