For a number of reasons, we believe!
We have partnered with rural farmers in Madagascar since 2005, bringing their high-quality vanilla beans and other gourmet products to international markets. In re-imagining the relationships between rural African farmers and international markets, LAFAZA addresses the basic challenges brought about by “trade as usual.” Under these conventional models, small-scale farmers often depend on a series of middlemen in bringing their products to market, resulting in low incomes and struggles to meet basic needs. Additionally, farmers living in the poorer regions of Madagascar face the challenges of accessing reliable market information and of acquiring improved skills related to production and trade.
Our community-based trade model significantly improves upon these conventional market relationships. Working directly with farmer organizations, we draw from our expertise and local partners in Madagascar to forge respectful, transparent and effective relationships with farmer associations and cooperatives to:
- Offer producers more consistent and higher-paying markets for vanilla and other spices.
- Build trusting, empowering relationships in the communities where we work.
- Provide trainings and skilled employment opportunities, especially for women, who are instrumental in curing high-quality vanilla beans.
- Invest in social development projects including community libraries and resource centers.
- Foster farmer-to-farmer linkages across Madagascar, creating a space for farmers to come together to share their knowledge, questions, and expertise.
As a socially-responsible business dedicated to addressing deep social challenges such as poverty, transparency, and human rights, we have seen the real difference that a patient, innovative approach to farming and trade networks can make in peoples’ lives. We have seen the pride in farmers as they learn new skills; the effects on children’s health as their parents can afford better health care; the energy among farmer cooperatives as they realize visions for a better future. Together with our customers and all our wonderful partners around the world, we look forward to bringing such successes to many more farmers in the region in the years to come.