The FLAVEX Organic Vanilla Project in Uganda
FLAVEX Naturextrakte GmbH and Coetzee Organic (U) Ltd are partners in a cooperation with 154 farmers with small-scale plantations – co-developing three officially registered farmers cooperatives located in Western Uganda in the breath-taking Rwenzori Mountains. An umbrella certification guarantees the high quality organic status of the vanilla beans. The introduction of a Fair Trade certification to some of the more developed groups is in preparation in order to create further value and socio-economic development.
Security is of course a major issue, with fresh beans being worth more than silver in weight. Working on various iterations in relationship building and management, we are now assisting the farmers financially in the pre-season to be able to afford armed security to protect their only viable source of income.
Training sessions within the project help the farmers to improve their harvest yield by cultivating and harvesting only fully mature beans. Unfortunately, many traders promise low prices also for non-mature beans. The farmers are often willing to agree to this exploitation, because the deadline for the school fee is shortly before the vanilla harvest season. In our project, green, matured beans are fully cash-paid to the farmers, split in part prepayment and cash on delivery of premium organic quality. The price calculation is based on the quality of the vanilla. The fermentation is done under strictly controlled conditions to enhance the content of vanillin – ensuring a pure distinctive vanilla flavour.
After the fermentation, the beans are shipped directly to our facility in Germany where we produce the vanilla extract with the gentle CO2 extraction process.
Honesty and trust are the basis for the success of this project that started in the year 2016. Quality is the biggest creator of value, which will enable us to invest in social and environmental programs and forming a truly sustainable agriculture supply chain. Social support – such as the donation of a goat and a cow for the sustainable supply of a young family as present at local wedding celebrations – underlines the integration of the partners at various levels.