Firmenich, together with Danone and Mars, through the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F), is investing in a large-scale, innovative vanilla farming model in Madagascar. Involving 3,000 vanilla producers, the project aims to increase farmer’s food security and triple their revenues, while providing high-quality, sustainable and fully traceable vanilla over a 10-year span.
“Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world, and Madagascar represents 80% of its supply,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich. “That’s why Firmenich has been working with smallholder farming communities in Madagascar for many years to support their sustainable livelihoods by driving the most ethical and traceable value chain. Taking our commitment to the next level, with Livelihoods 3F, we are innovating with a new vanilla farming model, based on diversifying farmers’ crops for more balance and security.”
“In light of the recent rising vanilla prices and today’s market scarcity, it is critical for us to invest in innovative solutions if we are to continue protecting the best that nature has to offer,” said Eric Nicolas, Board Member of Livelihoods 3F and Chief Financial Officer, Firmenich. “This investment secures the livelihoods of local farmers for the long-term, ensuring they receive approximately 60% of cured vanilla’s value.”
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,” said Bernard Giraud, Cofounder & President of Livelihoods Venture. “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.”
Fanamby, a Madagascan NGO will implement the project as a cooperative, owned-directly by the farmers. Projected to train 3,000 local farmers on both sustainable practices and crop diversification over 5 years, the project aims to not only increase vanilla productivity and quality but also enable farmers to have a more balanced daily food intake.
Launched in February 2015, Livelihoods 3F aims to help companies sustainably source the materials they need from smallholder farmers while improving their productivity, incomes, and living conditions. It will convert 200,000 farms to sustainable farming practices. The fund will invest 120 million euros by 2025, providing upfront financing and technical support to NGOs and farmers’ cooperatives across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Firmenich has a long-established presence in Madagascar, since 2005, having developed its first partnership with Authentic, a member of its Naturals Together program. Today the Savanille cooperative, founded by Authentic, includes over 3000 vanilla farmers across 38 villages. To best support the Savanille community, based on their input and in collaboration with Authentic, Firmenich has contributed to establish a local school, to build a medical dispensary, and to dig at least one clean water well in every village.