How can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported?

How can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported

How can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported?

La vanille bourbon de Madagascar, in particular, is renowned for its exceptional quality and history. But how can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported? You will know everything about the art of vanilla import and export.
Discover our article on the history of vanilla and the strawberry vanilla jam.
Because of the high concentration of vanillin, for the planifolia variety, the chemical compound that gives vanilla its particular fragrance and aromatic power.
You will find a lot of information about vanilla here on our vanilla specialist site.
Vanilla beans are the most famous export product of the island.
And its share in the GDP of Madagascar is important more or less 7%.
They are cultivated in the north-eastern zone of SAVA (Andapa, Antalaha, Mananara-Nord Sambava and Vohemar).
Most of the harvest will be sold on the export market.
Madagascar’s vanilla production amounts to more than 2,000 tons of vanilla each year.
Madagascar is the source of more than 80% of the world production. Price of Vanilla

Where are the vanilla beans found? 

It is in Madagascar that you will find the essential of the production but also the vanilla beans – Brazil, Madagascar, Papua, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, The Comoros. 
Le Comptoir de Toamasina selects its vanilla beans for you as a perfume designer goes to find his ingredients. Arnaud travels the world in search of the best vanilla and offers you only vanilla beans with rare aromatic power and only the best quality vanilla, that is to say the gourmet quality. A vanilla with a degressive price per kilo.
The most beautiful vanilla is only at Comptoir de Toamasina.

How to export vanilla from Madagascar?

B to B platforms such as the best known as espaceAgro connect importers and exporters of vanilla from Madagascar.
Once a contact has been established, orders have been placed and conditions have been agreed upon, a process must be followed.
But be careful if you want to work with its platforms, Le Comptoir de Toamasina advises you to work in documentary remittance for the transfer of funds.  Discover our article what is bourbon vanilla.

At the level of exports, what is the price of vanilla?

Since 2015, we have been writing and making videos about the price of vanilla.
Not everyone can export Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, and the government has established a list of authorized exporters as well as a minimum price for all qualities that is $250 FOB/kilo for 2021.
Madagascar has been imposing this minimum price for two years.
It is essential to know this.  Vanilla exports are also subject to strict quality and packaging standards. Vacuum packing is simply forbidden.  There are strict export restrictions for vanilla that is poorly prepared or has a low vanillin content, cannot be exported.
Additional requirements are that Madagascar vanilla must not have a moisture content of more than 38% for gourmet quality. Different from Tahitian vanilla.
Then the Malagasy customs essentially look at the packaging conditions. Then a phytosanitary certificate and a customs form, as well as a sales invoice and payment documents must be presented to finalize the transaction.
In Brazil, you must say the repatriation of currency and especially take an exchange insurance.

How many vanilla beans in red vanilla – Is there such a thing as prestige red vanilla? 

If you buy red vanilla, it is more than 800 beans per kilo. So the vanilla seller can make quite a margin because the quantity for the gourmet is more or less 400 for the 15cm.
During our last trip in January 2020, we asked if the gold medal red vanilla or the prestige red vanilla of Madagascar exists and we got a no. Today, we must be careful with the misleading commercial denomination.
What are the regulations for countries that import vanilla?
Some importing countries apply additional restrictions in addition to those listed above.
Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar that contains pesticide residues cannot enter the European Union. In South America, products that come from IN Natura agriculture cannot enter the country. Because of the risk of transmitting diseases.
The legislation is very strict from one country to another. You can not enter Chile with an apple that does not come from the country.
A wooden pallet is forbidden in some countries and the vanilla arrives with a wooden pallet, it will be debacterized in the smoke.

What are the names of the vanilla traders in Madagascar?

Import/export companies specialized in agricultural products, including vanilla from Madagascar, represent the majority of their activity. At the national and international level, they are members of the GNEV (Groupement National des Exportateurs de Vanille), in charge of defending the interests of vanilla exporters. The GES (Groupement des Entreprises de la SAVA) is another organization that brings together all the actors of the vanilla sector in the SAVA zone: collectors, processors, packers and exporters. Business cards are distributed, but this group also monitors the vanilla market and improves regulatory procedures in addition to its surveillance.
How can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported

How can Madagascar vanilla be exported and imported

Who are the main importers of vanilla in the world?

Manufacturers import vanilla from Madagascar for use in their products and also sell it as is. Industrial chocolate, cookies, and even sodas are all manufactured by food industry companies. In addition, there are master chocolatiers, ice cream makers, and pastry chefs. Vanilla is a popular ingredient in the cosmetic industry because of its rejuvenating and antioxidant properties. Cosmetics and personal care products such as soap, shampoo and moisturizer are all created from essential oils, which are also found in many fragrances. Coty’s Vanilla Field and Guerlain’s Shalimar are among this group of products. One of the best known uses of vanilla is as a remedy for mental health problems such as lassitude and depression. Vanilla is also said to help with sleep and mood disorders.

Which nations depend on Madagascar for their vanilla imports?

France is the world’s largest importer of vanilla with 15% of the world’s vanilla imports from Madagascar, Germany 7%, Japan 5%, Canada 5%, the United Kingdom 3% and other countries.
As you can see Le Comptoir de Toamasina and the French specialist of vanilla, discover our articles and our box the world of vanilla.
The most sold vanilla in the world here are the data
Madagascar vanilla is known for its quality and high vanillin content. Vanilla planifolia will produce more vanillin than vanilla tahitensis. But it is the Brazilian vanilla that contains the most vanillin. Discover our article on all the vanilla varieties in the world.
But where do you find the best vanilla in the world?
It is at the Comptoir de Toamasina that you will discover the most beautiful vanilla beans in the world.

The quantities exported of Malagasy vanilla 

You can imagine that Madagascar will export more than 2000 tons of vanilla per year. And for the 2021 – 2022 campaign Madagascar has exported 2375 tons of vanilla, it’s incredible.
But most of the vanilla exported goes to the industry and it is red vanilla. The worst quality vanilla. The prestige red vanilla from Madagascar is a name to mislead the customer.
This export, vanilla must meet very strict standards.
Discover the standards:


  • Invoice
  • Repatriation of currency
  • Documentary letter if documentary remittance
  • Maximum sample 1,5kg
  • Phytosanitary certificate
  • Customs form
  • Freight forwarder
  • Minimum price
  • Etc
All vanilla destined for export must be labeled with a statement that the vanilla being exported is from the year it was harvested.
Because vanilla is harvested seasonally. And you can’t export vanilla from the previous season. Unlike coffee or tonka bean.
For the year 2020, the government has chosen September 15 as the start date of the export season, but the list of exporters has not been finalized, so it is not clear which companies will be allowed to export. The selling price of vanilla was set at $250 FOB per kg. And the end of the export was in May. So now you know that vanilla is from September to May for export.
Vacuum-packed vanilla cannot be exported and it is an offence that leads to the destruction of the goods.
In the case of cheap vanilla, exporters are accused of making transfers to offshore banks in order to discount their invoices and pay less tax, prompting customs to conduct detailed questioning.
The export of vanilla beans that are moldy, immature or have a moisture content of more than 38 percent will be prohibited. However, green beans may be exported with a waiver for study or other unusual purposes under specified conditions.
Previously, travelers could bring up to 8 kilograms of vanilla in their luggage, but starting in 2018, they will only be allowed to bring 2 kilograms.
Compared to the United States and Japan, European policy is more liberal. Here are some examples:
Madagascar’s vanilla producers face the following requirements of the European market.
Sanitary requirements must be met prior to export and import – Comptoir de Toamasina imports and exports acai powder from Brazil
Because stored pods can be an important food source and sheds are breeding grounds, Europe requires various hygiene standards throughout the processing of Madagascar vanilla. These rules apply in particular to the working surfaces, which must be cleaned and deratted. Thus, the cleaning of the floors and the ventilation of the space at the end of each working day are strongly advised. In addition, it is essential to keep animals away from these facilities, as well as to store hazardous materials such as gasoline and solvents.
All employees and individuals who have access to processing facilities and storage areas should wear a cap, in addition to proper personal hygiene, including hand hygiene. To avoid biological contamination of vanilla beans, utensils, sorting tables, baskets, wool blankets, and scalding drums must all be maintained in a clean condition. Dryers should be constructed of clean bamboo or wood and should never be placed near standing water, animals or the ground to allow the drying process to take place.
Food additives, molds, pesticide residues, heavy metals and other contaminants are all strictly regulated in Europe.

Traceability of Comptoir de Toamasina 

In the event of a health inspection, the vanilla shipped must allow the authorities to easily trace it back to its source.
The packaging of vanilla for export and the packaging of Comptoir de Toamasina, the French reference for vanilla
Vanilla should be shipped in cans, often called « touques », or in strong, cool cartons when exported. Food grade plastic or wax paper should be used to line the interior.

Tariffs and taxes

Madagascar is a beneficiary of the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences), which allows exporters to reduce their taxes through economic cooperation agreements and the GSP. The « Form A » certificate of origin must be presented by all exporters to demonstrate that their vanilla originates in Madagascar.
Other criteria, which are not mandatory, facilitate sales in Europe. Good agricultural production and packaging methods are central to these standards.

What about the US market and Canada ?

There are stricter regulations in the U.S., such as the Anti-Bioterrorism Act enacted in 2002. Exporters (who must register with one of 149 listed vanilla exporters in 2018) and producers are subject to a number of restrictions under the latter (mandatory record keeping of cultivation and phytosanitary operations, in addition to referencing production plots).
While large vanilla farms and processing units can meet export criteria, small producers are generally constrained by a lack of resources due to their small size.

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