Unilever, Symrise and GIZ partner to support vanilla farmers
Unilever, its ingredient supplier Symrise and GIZ, a German federal enterprise in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development have partnered to improve the livelihoods of 4,000 vanilla farmers in the Sava region of Madagascar.
The three-year programme – partly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - will impact 32 communities and involve 44 schools and colleges, giving it the potential to improve 24,000 lives in one of the world’s poorest nations, the partners say.
Madagascar produces 79% of the world’s natural vanilla supply. Unilever uses vanilla as an ingredient in its leading ice cream brands, such as Magnum, Breyers and Carte D’Or. The partnership aims to secure this vanilla supply for Unilever in the future and to support the farming communities with improved access to secondary education and training in agricultural best practices.
The programme will operate through farmer field schools to increase vanilla productivity and also encourage crop diversification (farmers can earn more money from vanilla).
The integrated education programme will also support environmental education in primary schools through training teachers and providing teaching kits; and aims to establish a learning platform of rural agricultural colleges for vocational training of adolescents.
Throughout the project equal opportunities will be provided to women and girl students since they represent about 50% of the communities and are actively involved in farm management: between 20 and 30% of the farmer households are headed up by women.