Brooklyn, NY — Virginia Dare is providing roughly 150 vanilla farmers in Madagascar with the tools and training necessary to cure their own beans. Madagascar is the world’s leading vanilla producer, responsible for 80 percent of global production.
In partnership with Antalaha, Madagascar-based company, SOARARY, Virginia Dare “intends to ensure growers access to the international market where they can get higher prices than those paid within their own country,” Virginia Dare President Howard Smith Jr. says. “Access should put extra money in growers’ pockets which should result in a greater commitment, not just to the product itself, but to product quality.”
The farmers who participate in the program will also have access to affordable rice during Madagascar’s annual shortage period instead of having to pay for the rice by pledging future vanilla production at prices below fair market value.
In July, Virginia Dare entered a partnership with SOARARY to provide it with a fully integrated supply chain for securing, curing and exporting vanilla beans from Madagascar. “Adopting a more vertically integrated approach to vanilla sourcing there allows us to respond to growing consumer demand for traceability and sustainability of foods and ingredients,” Virginia Dare Vice-President of Vanilla Products Rick Brownwell said.