Lafaza and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) today announced the launch of a new partnership to work with communities to expand environmentally sustainable vanilla and clove production around the Makira Natural Park in Madagascar’s northeast. The partnership will support more than 1,900 households to produce high-quality vanilla and cloves that will be destined for international buyers in the United States and abroad.

The innovative partnership between Lafaza - a United States and Madagascar based organization with an environmentally and socially sustainable sourcing model for high-quality vanilla and cloves, and WCS - an international conservation NGO which has been working in Madagascar for over 20 years, will work with communities who manage the Makira Natural Park in collaboration with WCS. These communities regularly participate in conservation activities in the Park and manage forests and natural resources found in the buffer zone of the Park.

By providing households with technical training, access to materials, and strengthening their skills in financial management and marketing, Lafaza and WCS predict that more than 200 metric tons of high-quality green vanilla (40 metric tons of finished vanilla) and 300 metric tons of high-quality cloves will be produced and sold on international markets over the next 5 years generating much needed alternative sources of household income for the rural and isolated communities found in this zone.

The benefits of the partnership are expected to be numerous. Lafaza’s business model is based on increasing capacity and autonomy of communities and making direct links between sellers and international markets. The model will ensure increased and sustainable revenues for households around the Makira Natural Park who currently rely predominantly on subsistence rice farming for their livelihoods. The partnership will also generate conservation benefits for the 372,000 hectares (1,436 square miles) of forest contained in the Makira Natural Park, which harbors the highest diversity of lemur species in Madagascar as well as the largest remaining stands of low to mid elevation tropical forest in Madagascar.

“We are extremely excited about this new partnership which shows that NGOs and the private sector can share a common vision and work together in a practical way to generate tangible social and environmental benefits in an area which represents the epicenter of Madagascar’s biodiversity.” said Alison Clausen, Country Director of WCS Madagascar.

“The synergies and common goals that exist between our organizations are a perfect example of how Public-Private-Partnerships can form to have positive impacts on local communities and their environments.  Lafaza is excited and honored to participate in the protection of Makira Natural Park by helping to provide improved economic opportunities to local stakeholders,” said Danny Hervol, Madagascar Director of Lafaza.

WCS has been committed to protecting the wildlife and wild places of Madagascar since the 1990s, and manages the Makira Natural Park on behalf of the Government of Madagascar. Threats to Makira and the surrounding region include growing demands for agriculture, bushmeat hunting, and practices such as illegal logging and mineral resource extraction.  Working with the Madagascar Ministry of Environment, Ecology, Oceans and Forests, Madagascar National Parks, local authorities, and community stakeholders, WCS implements a holistic conservation strategy to address these threats and ensure the continued protection and maintained integrity of Madagascar’s natural heritage.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. 

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Lafaza is a leader in developing sustainable, fair trade supply chains for smallholder producers of vanilla, spices, and specialty products in Madagascar. The company develops innovative partnerships and builds direct trade projects that link producers to international markets. Its specialty products are available to food manufacturers, foodservice customers, and retail businesses around the world. Lafaza improves farmer livelihoods and invests in rural communities, provides technical training on sustainable farming practices that help conserve critical habitat, and delivers the highest quality products directly to customers. Lafaza was founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and is based in Toamasina, Madagascar and Oakland, California.  For more information, visit: <> Follow: @_lafaza