PROVA announced that the company has joined forces with The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) and other industry-leading companies on a new initiative to restore vanilla quality while increasing food security and preserving Madagascar’s unique landscape. The project aims to triple farmers’ revenues and provide companies with high quality and fully traceable vanilla over a 10-year span.

Livelihoods 3F is an impact investment fund created by Danone, Firmenich, Mars and Veolia to foster sustainability and poverty reduction in supply chains. The fund’s investment in this large-scale vanilla project features an innovative model where farmers and industry players share both benefits and risks. With 3,000 family farms, this project aims to tackle not only quality and traceable vanilla production but also food security for farmers and biodiversity conservation. Fanamby, a Madagascan NGO with extensive experience working with vanilla producers, will implement the project.

PROVA and Firmenich will be working very closely with Livelihoods and Fanamby. The two companies are widely recognized as the industry’s vanilla experts, with hands-on experience in the fields with vanilla farmers. PROVA strongly believes that working together altruistically with colleagues in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration is the best way to improve the sector as a whole.

Alessandra Ognibene-Lerouvillois, Chief Sustainability Officer of PROVA, said: “For many years, PROVA has been supporting an economically viable approach to vanilla production that helps to improve producers’ livelihoods in Madagascar, while respecting resources and perpetuating good practices. We are deeply committed to the Livelihoods vanilla project and very happy to partner with Mars, Danone and Firmenich in this unique initiative. We believe that the multi-stakeholder collaboration will drive a real impact on the ground, by bringing joint investments and knowledge while integrating a global approach.” She added, “We are privileged to work with companies such as Mars that are deeply committed to sustainability who believe in working very closely with their suppliers to ensure resources for the future.”

There is a clear sense of urgency from international food manufacturers and the vanilla industry to tackle sustainability and quality issues in vanilla production and processing, and to improve sector transparency. For PROVA, this starts in Madagascar, where local stakeholders, including exporters and the government, are also willing to engage in required sector professionalization. 

PROVA has a deeply-rooted history of supporting farmers on the ground that precedes the new initiative with Livelihoods 3F:

VDB (Vanille Durable Bemanevika), created by PROVA, is addressing the root causes of Madagascar’s precarious living conditions by increasing farmer income through better vanilla bean quality, higher yields, increased proportion of cured vanilla sold and diversification into other crops. 

Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI)
PROVA, Firmenich, and Mars are also members of the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI), through which they have worked with more than 25 international companies, including major international food brands and flavor houses. The SVI is a voluntary industry initiative, which aims to promote the long-term stable supply of high quality, natural vanilla, produced in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way, benefiting all partners along the value chain.

Cocoa & Vanilla Joint Project
Collaboration underpins the joint project by cocoa producer Barry Callebaut and PROVA in Madagascar to diversify and stabilize revenues of vanilla farmers through the introduction of cocoa farming. Barry Callebaut's long-standing cocoa expertise, in association with PROVA 's local vanilla know-how, creates synergies on the ground for the benefit of local vanilla farmers. 

The resulting demand for increased sustainability will encourage more companies to innovate and adopt a partnership mindset. With benefits to the environment, increased consumer trust and added profits, sustainability is a win-win for food and beverage manufacturers going forward.