The tiny island of Comoros, one of the least developed countries in Africa, counts exactly 60 Fairtrade producers. After two years of Fairtrade certification the vanilla farmers from Provabe celebrated their first sales in 2012. While they are waiting for their first premium, the farmers are already enjoying the benefits from the extra income they received from the sale.
'For years now I have been selling vanilla beans for only EUR 2 per kilo, while the Fairtrade price is double!' says Mama Nadzma. 'Thanks to the extra income I am now able to finance the education of my children.'
'Our village Seleya was hit by a flood last year, destroying part of our plots,' producer Troundra Attoumani adds. 'We want to use the Fairtrade premium to roll out a replanting project so that we can quickly recover from the catastrophe.'
The farmers also took up the advice of the Fairtrade Liaison Officer to diversify their crops. The group set up a nursery, growing ylang-ylang, from which oil is extracted, and spices like clove and nutmeg. Apart from becoming less dependent on the vanilla harvest, the plants are also used for agroforestry purposes, creating more sustainable land-use systems.