Madagascar's Annual Vanilla Market
Because vanilla is critical to the economy of Madagascar, the government of Madagascar maintains strict control over every aspect of vanilla. This control includes growing, minimum prices, storage, and export, and this oversight helps maintain Madagascan vanilla's high quality and good reputation.
The "green vanilla market" is an example of price controls in the Madagascan vanilla market, helping ensure the small farmers get paid fairly for their green vanilla. These green vanilla negotiations are held every year in Madagascar's different provinces and set a standard local price for farmers who produce the raw green vanilla.
The opening date of the green vanilla campaign is established by decree of the state, with each producing region having its market-opening date.
These photos show the multi-day green vanilla market/negotiations from the "Sava" region in Northeast Madagascar. The town mayor and his deputy launch the opening of the green vanilla auction and open talks between growers and buyers.
The farmers from the growing region and the commissioners appointed by the exporting producers negotiate the sale price during the event. It is common for the negotiations to take multiple days before the final price for the raw, green vanilla is set. The whole process is transparent, with all the talks taking place publically.
Once the green vanilla price has been determined, gourmet black vanilla, red vanilla, and other vanilla prices can be set as well. Interestingly, it takes 6 pounds of green vanilla to make just one pound of cured vanilla.