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Symrise opens $3m vanilla extraction facility in Madagascar

By Elaine Watson+

16-Oct-2014

The ribbon-cutting ceremony: New plant means that every step in the processing of vanilla can now be performed locally on the east African Island
The ribbon-cutting ceremony: New plant means that every step in the processing of vanilla can now be performed locally on the east African Island

Symrise has opened a new €3m ($3.83m) vanilla extraction facility in Benavony, Madagascar - the latest milestone in its strategy to “establish the entire value chain for vanilla in its source country”.

The flavors & fragrances giant, which processes about 200 tons of vanilla from Madagascar each year (c.10 % of the annual harvest), recently opened a new fermentation and storage complex in Antalaha, Madagascar.

The new extraction facility in Benavony means that every step in the processing of vanilla can now be performed locally, said Symrise CEO Dr Jürgen Bertram.

 “With this new plant, we are completing the cycle of responsible vanilla production on site. Our vanilla activities in Madagascar are the best evidence that business success and sustainability go hand in hand.

“Symrise is one of the most important suppliers of vanilla flavors in the world. The company has been active in Madagascar, where 80% of the world’s vanilla is grown, since 2005. [This] investment is a clear statement that we are directly committed long-term to the country, its people and vanilla farming.”

We are completing the cycle of responsible vanilla production on site

The 3,500 m2 facility offers production space for extraction, analysis, quality control and the proper storage of vanilla extracts, and will also be used as a site to process additional raw materials such as vetiver (for producing perfumes) further down the line, he said.

Symrise works directly with vanilla farmers in northeastern Madagascar and reinvests 10% of its yields from vanilla operations into Madagascar in the form of education and training, reforestation and the sustainable cultivation of various agricultural raw materials on the island.

Alain Bourdon, head of Symrise Madagascar, added: We produce the energy by burning acacia wood and bamboo. We purchase the bamboo from village residents – providing them with additional income. At the same time, residents are trained in the sustainable cultivation and harvesting of bamboo.

“As part of a Symrise reforestation program, in 2014 approximately 80,000 acacia and 50,000 intsia bijuga seedlings were planted. The same number of trees will also be planted in 2015.”

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