Well Earth Partnership: Vanilla from Uganda

Well Earth Partnership: Vanilla from Uganda

Ugandan vanilla is prized for its unusually high levels of vanillin, the active flavor compound in vanilla. But challenges such as extreme price volatility in the global vanilla market, difficulty getting funds for operations and lack of training opportunities for growers have taken a toll on the Uganda vanilla supply and threatened the livelihood of vanilla farmers there.

Frontier Co-op is working directly with Ugandan vanilla growers and their organization through our Well Earth sourcing program to address these challenges. Our multi-faceted approach to improving their situation includes:

Supporting increased income opportunity: Frontier Co-op has provided pre-harvest loans to ensure farmers have the resources they need to start the growing season.

Funding grower training: We have also provided $56,000 in grants to support training that helps growers consistently produce the highest quality vanilla that yields the best prices.

Advocating for better public policy: As a member of the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative’s steering committee, Frontier Co-op has worked with the Ugandan government, non-profit organizations and the local vanilla industry to stabilize market conditions for farmers.

Funding farm diversification research: To help farmers add even more value to their vanilla, Frontier Co-op has provided funding to support an organic vanilla feasibility study.

Strengthening the grower community: Through our Well Earth partnerships, Frontier Co-op helps the Whole Planet Foundation locate and develop candidates for microloans in the grower communities. These small (averaging less than $200) and otherwise unobtainable loans can transform lives. They allow the hardworking and enterprising recipients to establish and grow their small, often home-based, businesses. (Our direct sourcing relationships throughout the world have led to many microloans in eight different countries.)

By working closely with both the Ugandan growers and the larger world community, Frontier Co-op is helping create a better future for this top-quality, rich and mellow-flavored vanilla.

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