Barry Callebaut has teamed up with our vanilla supplier Prova to address the issues impacting vanilla farmers in Madagascar, specifically poverty, by making farmers more resilient with diversified income sources (i.e. from cocoa production), and improved productivity and quality.

Currently, sustainable vanilla initiatives don’t sufficiently address the issues impacting vanilla farming in Madagascar, especially the common and extreme challenge of income insecurity. That’s why in 2016 we joined our supplier, Prova, to implement our own joint program to enable improved livelihoods for vanilla producers, increased implementation of good agricultural practices, income diversification via cocoa farming, and professionalized farm management.

Our program consists of three pillars:

  • Vanilla Productivity & Quality: Through the program, farmers are trained in good agricultural practices for vanilla cultivation to improve their vanilla productivity and quality. The program also encourages farmers to cure their vanilla and supports good curing practices. Farmers are paid a quality premium to further encourage good practices and enhance livelihoods.
  • Income Diversification: To reduce the risks associated with vanilla’s lean season, our project supports farmers in diversifying their income with cocoa. Cocoa trees not only thrive in a similar climate as vanilla, but are harvested throughout the year, during times where farmers have no income from their vanilla. We are distributing cocoa seedlings to participating farmers, support them with tools, and trainings and have established a centralized cocoa fermentation center that is run by the cooperative.
  • Community Engagement: Our project runs a variety of social initiatives for farmers in the program and their communities, including a mobile library, distribution of nutritious flour to schools, teacher training as well as support to the local health centers. Furthermore, communities are trained on the risks of child labor and we take remediative action if children are identified as being at risk of child labor.

Complementing Prova’s ongoing social development program, and supported by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, we are able to use our cocoa expertise to create a comprehensive program, increase the supply of sustainable vanilla, and encourage a sustainable supply chain. The program and its impacts are verified on an annual basis through external auditors.


Key Highlights of the program after 6 years: 


Vanilla Quality & Productivity: 

  • Over 700 farmers in the program
  • 99% of farmers trained in Good Agricultural Practices
  • 70% of farmers received a quality premium payout
  • +6% revenue increase due to better quality


Cocoa & Income Diversification

  • Cocoa output grew from below 1mT to 11mT of sold beans 
  • 40% of all farmers produce cocoa along with vanilla 
  • More farmers to join as over 100,000 seedlings have been planted
  • 100% of vanilla & cocoa farm polygon mapped 


Community Engagement 

  • 12 villages in the Sava region reached
  • Teacher trainings in 7 schools
  • 2 local health centers 
  • 1 technical school for young graduates 


We can offer our customers traceable, sustainable vanilla, as well as cocoa from our program. 

Contact your Barry Callebaut sales representative to enable the sustainable sourcing of chocolate ingredients, including Vanilla, in your end-product.

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