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