Vanilla and Cocoa - two peas in a pod

October 26, 2018

In 2016, Barry Callebaut partnered with Prova, the world’s leading exporter of vanilla, to secure a sustainable vanilla supply. Now, in 2018, not only have we received the first 100% traceable vanilla from Madagascan farmers, we are also working to improve vanilla farmer livelihoods by diversifying farmers income with cocoa.

With this in mind, Barry Callebaut and Prova, a premier manufacturer of vanilla extracts and flavors, teamed up in 2016 for an initiative to diversify vanilla farmer incomes through the introduction of cocoa farming. The aim of the partnership is to improve farmer livelihoods and secure a more sustainable supply of vanilla.

 

 

The aim of the partnership is to improve farmer livelihoods and secure a more sustainable supply of vanilla.

 
Barry Callebaut Forever Chocolate 100% sustainable ingredients
Vanilla Madagascar

Image: copyright Prova

Encouraging farmer entrepreneurship and a commitment to purchasing

So why combine cocoa and vanilla? Not only do cocoa trees thrive in a very similar climate to vanilla, but by combining the two crops, cocoa can be harvested throughout the year, diversifying farmer’s income and helping to reduce the risks associated with vanilla’s lean season.  Barry Callebaut has committed to purchasing the cocoa, which is critical to encouraging farmer motivation. By seeing the financial potential generated by the new crop, it also supports farmer entrepreneurship.

 
vanilla drying madagascar

Image: copyright Prova

Fast forward to 2018.....tailor-made training courses

An independent audit in spring 2018 showed that the initiative has taken root and is having a positive impact on the targeted communities. As of 2018, a total of 54 tailor-made training courses have taken place. The trainings have included financial management, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for both vanilla and cocoa and professionalizing farmer businesses.  To date, over 450 farmers have participated in the program.

...and delivery of 100% traceable vanilla

Spreading sustainable agronomic expertise has also achieved results in terms of quality and comprehensive traceability. In March 2018, the first 100% traceable vanilla from the Madagascan farms involved was delivered to Barry Callebaut factories in Belgium, Italy and France. 

In March 2018, the first 100% traceable vanilla from the Madagascan farms involved was delivered to Barry Callebaut factories in Belgium, Italy and France.

 

The results so far also indicate that along with making progress towards Barry Callebaut’s Forever Chocolate goal of 100% sustainable ingredients, significant contributions are being made to social issues.

 
Vanilla farmer harvesting Madagascar

Image: copyright Prova

The big picture - working with local communities

Forever Chocolate looks beyond supporting individual farmers to the development of the communities they live and work in. To date, Prova and Barry Callebaut have committed to empowering vanilla farmers, with investment in local communities, such as education and health center initiatives and supporting around 2’000 children to receive free meals at school.

Forever Chocolate is Barry Callebaut's plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods. It supports the Cocoa Horizons Foundation in its goal to shape a sustainable cocoa and chocolate future.

Forever Chocolate logo Barry Callebaut