In Madagascar, 80% of people are small farmers who grow crops like rice, vanilla and cacao. In fact, more than 70% of the world’s cacao is grown throughout Africa, but only about 18% is processed there — thereby limiting the potential economic benefit for the communities that grow the crop.
Promoting sustainable business practices is a key element to conserving the unique habitats of Madagascar, where there are very few sustainable economic opportunities for rural populations. Working in the northern region of the country, Madécasse produces fine chocolate and vanilla products grown in the area adjacent to the Tsaratanana Nature Reserve. The company sources its products from highly diverse shade-grown cacao plantations, and it is the only bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer in Madagascar. In 2012, Conservation International’s Verde Ventures program provided a US$ 275,000 loan and technical support to Madécasse to support the company’s expansion efforts in Madagascar.
With the help of Verde Ventures, Madécasse directly supports local farmers by providing training and equipment that improves product quality and yields — in addition to purchasing cocoa at a premium. Madécasse is one of the only companies in Madagascar that also processes the cocoa into chocolate before it leaves the country. Keeping many aspects of the supply chain in country helps ensure that jobs and production knowledge stay in Madagascar, while also incentivizing sustainable methods of forest farming.
By the numbers
Madécasse supports more than 125 farmers from four cooperatives and ensures the sustainable management of 400 hectares adjacent to the Tsaratanana and Monongarivo Forest Reserves.