Madagascar’s £152m vanilla industry soured by child labour and poverty


From The Guardian:

“Nine-year-old Xidollien has no idea that the vanilla pods he and his family so painstakingly cultivate throughout the year on their small vanilla farm in the north of Madagascar is one of the most valuable spices in the world.

He hides behind his mother, Liliane, as she stands among the family’s vanilla plants . He has spent all morning clearing weeds from the land with a machete. Tomorrow will be the same for him and thousands of other children in the northern region of the island.

Roughly 80% of the vanilla sold on the global market comes from Madagascar. Madagascan vanilla is used in chocolate, cakes and ice-cream sold to consumers around the globe by some of the world’s biggest brands.

Yet, according to a new report by research and media centre Danwatch, the vanilla supply chain is keeping farmers like Xidollien and his family locked in a cycle of exploitation, poverty and child labour.”

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