In 2019, McCormick scaled up their efforts to address social and economic issues in the vanilla supply chain by engaging in a multi-stakeholder project, building on the existing knowledge and experience of McCormick and their partners. Implemented in partnership with GIZ and McCormick’s supplier BioVanilla, the project aims to improve the economic self-sufficiency of 4,000 vanilla farmers and their families in the Sambava and Vohemar districts of the Sava Region in Madagascar. The project is designed to further develop governance and representation of smallholder farmers in the sector, address farmer concerns around theft, and provide training to support farmers’ value addition through curing and income diversification. Along with benefits to the farmers, the company will benefit from a high quality, traceable and certified sustainable supply of vanilla.
McCormick has been working in the region by providing support to their supplier and the farmer cooperative since 2017. It was on this foundation that the joint program with the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ) was launched in 2019 to address many of the challenges the sector is currently facing: these include theft and insecurity due to poor governance and poor structuring of the sector, producer vulnerability to price fluctuations, insufficient quality and quantity of production due to poor practices and vanilla processing, and limited access by producers to basic services (health, education, drinking water, and loans). In collaboration with GIZ, the project is increasing access to these services by expanding the health insurance system, increasing access to interest-free loans, setting-up wells in villages with poor access to water, and building, rehabilitating and equipping local primary schools.
CARE conducted a comprehensive assessment of key gender and livelihood challenges at the household level which informed GIZ, McCormick and its supplier’s design of targeted interventions to tackle identified challenges. The initiative, currently involving over 2,500 farmers organized into a cooperative, built a robust service delivery model, including value addition through farmer training on vanilla curing, premiums for certified and higher quality products, interest-free loans to farmers, a healthcare insurance system and free provision of training and extension services. 100% of the vanilla sourced from the cooperative is fully traceable, Organic and/or Rainforest Alliance certified. Co-op members are trained in areas including the management of waste and natural resources, implementing an integrated pest management system and following standards in preserving ecosystems. To improve the effectiveness and transparency of McCormick’s sustainable sourcing operations, they are also using Farmforce as a digital supply chain management solution.
- Over 2,500 farmers from nearly 50 villages are members of the cooperative and are able access key services (12,875 beneficiaries from households)
- Over 1,400 ha of vanilla fields certified under Organic and/or Rainforest Alliance
- 400 farmer training sessions completed
- 5 schools built or renovated in farming communities
- Over 15,000 school kits distributed to children
- Bulk procurement of construction material, at lower cost, has allowed 15+ farmers to build concrete houses
- 6 rural roads repaired
- Over 10,000 bags of rice distributed to farmers during the lean season
- Nearly 13,000 vanilla farming household members with free healthcare coverage
- 35 nurseries created
- Over 17,500 trees planted
In the next 3 years, McCormick will undertake the following activities in collaboration with GIZ, and continue to drive impact:
- Scale-up the sustainable sourcing program to a total of 4,000 farmers from 100 villages, including the healthcare insurance program, interest-free loans and Rainforest Alliance Certification.
- Implement the GIZ Farmer Business School approach through at least 200 additional farmer training sessions, including improved production and curing practices as well as financial and business management
- Support farmers to diversify their income in preparation for the expected vanilla market price correction
- Scale-up the use of Farmforce for digital supply chain management and transparency
- Strengthen youth entrepreneurship in communities through Maison Familiale Rurales
- Support 4 additional schools in rural communities to improve primary education
- Develop clean water initiatives in critical communities
- Set up over 25 additional nurseries to plant at least an additional 18,000 trees to promote biodiversity in the region
- Support the Sava Region authorities to increase security and the implementation of the Dinam-Paritra (regional convention to combat child labor)
- Develop training modules and train farmers on Child Labor Code of Conduct developed by SVI and ILO