Making traceable, sustainable vanilla products a reality

Making traceable, sustainable vanilla products a reality4 January 2021

Sustainability and traceability have become hot topics in the food industry, with major companies investing in their supply chains to meet increasing customer demand for transparency. At De Monchy Natural Products (DMNP) it has been our mission to secure the entire supply chain of our Madagascan vanilla. We want to assure traceability from farm to plate. This is why we established the Macky Association in Madagascar.

Challenges in creating traceable, sustainable vanilla

It has not been an easy task. The supply chain of vanilla is complicated, and it is difficult to get an honest view of the entire process. This is mostly due to challenges in communication, infrastructure, and trust between the different parties. Our DMNP operations manager in Madagascar, Zo Randrianantenaina, has spent a considerable amount of time traveling through the SAVA region talking to thousands of vanilla farmers. He has developed friendly relationships with many farmers to obtain insight into their day-to-day lives.

The Macky Association – making traceable, sustainable vanilla possible

With the knowledge gained through their talks and in close cooperation with our integrated partner, Sambavanille, we created the Macky Association. Not only do we want to make sure our vanilla is traceable and sustainable, but we also want to understand the challenges faced by the farmers. By empowering them to run their farms in a sustainable way and to be more financially resilient in a volatile market, we have the confidence that they will offer better quality, guilt-free products.

Clear insight into vanilla supply chain

To date, 1720 vanilla farmers from 14 different villages in Madagascar’s vanilla region are registered members of the Macky Association. At this moment we are in the process of registering these farmers including their production, their working conditions, their certifications, and their payments using a digital system developed by Metajua and Ecocert. This system simplifies the traceability of the vanilla beans we buy. Together with Metajua we are also in the process of registering the location of all our vanilla plantations using the GPS coordinates. Each farmer is linked to the specific location of their plantation. Each farmer also uses a unique stamp on their vanilla beans. In this way, it is possible for us to trace each individual vanilla bean back to the exact location where it has been cultivated.

Social responsibility in vanilla supply chain

We also aim to support, train, and empower the farmers and their families. Topics we are looking at include agricultural best practices, financial literacy, craftsmanship, and education. So far, we have collaborated with the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI) to offer a range of workshops on the topic of child labor. Recently we also completed a successful group training on organic farming and certification. We also built a school in Ambohimanarina. This project was done in co-operation with the Trivium Foundation. It has been completed in time for the new school year of 2020. The official inauguration took place on the 27th of October.

Committed to positive social and environmental impact

Quality at DMNP is not only about the product itself. It is about the combination of all conditions surrounding the production, both social and environmental. The work done by the Macky Association and the future plans they hold are at the core of what we believe is necessary to make sure the vanilla trade can be sustained for years to come. We stay committed to this cause and look forward to continuing on this mission together with our partners in Madagascar.

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