Natural, Organic & Sustainable Agriculture

Madagascar Vanilla Tour

Whether you're visiting our region on a mission to buy vanilla or simply being curious about how natural vanilla is cultivated and produced, we are happy to take you on a tour at one of our plantations combined with a visit to our facility where green vanilla beans are transformed into the black fragrant vanilla spice.

Vanilla beans grow best in light but shaded conditions and our plantation is located in a forested area by the beach close to the village of Benavony. Partly and fully grown green vanilla beans can be seen here between March and up until harvesting time in July.

At the same location, an essential oils distillery produces oils and essences from clove and cinnamon and other crops by traditional extraction methods.
Shortly after the seasonal vanilla harvesting time, the green vanilla beans are brought to our facility in Sambava by truckloads. Demand beyond the capacity of our planting areas is met through our cooperative (FTTV) of many small-scale rural vanilla farmers across our region.

Following each harvest, green vanilla beans are supplied to producers and exporters by local farmers at organised green vanilla trade auctions where negotiations between buyers and sellers are ongoing for several days in remote villages across the vanilla producing regions. Vanillanomics - The Volatile Economics of Natural Vanilla in Madagascar, published by Bloomberg Businessweek, offers an insight into these seasonal green vanilla markets. The article is also available in audio format: vanillanomics.mp3 (33 mins / 40MB).

Once the beans have been transported to our facility in Sambava, sorting, scalding and grading of the green beans is completed, followed by weeks of sun-drying and further grading of the beans into different categories from Gourmet quality to Cuts & Splits. Some of the seasonal crops are also used to produce vanilla powder.

Natural pollination of the vanilla orchid is only possible by a bee native to Mexico. In all other vanilla producing countries, the process is assisted by hand-pollination necessary to produce the fruit. While the exact time depends on the area and altitude, between September and December, the flower buds gradually blossom into vanilla orchids with each orchid flowering for a single day only.

The opportunity to see the hand-pollination as well as appreciate the beautiful elusive orchids in the wild is best done during the early morning hours.
We can organise guided tours for up to 10 visitors at a time. What you can see depends on the activities that are happening at the time of your visit. Please contact us ahead of your visit to allow us to arrange transport and a staff member to guide you through our plantation and facility.

Members of the Lemur Conservation Foundation Tour at Madagascar Spices in 2022
The plantation is located about 15 kilometres from our facility in Sambava. Set aside a minimum of three hours for your visit. Please Contact our team by phone or email to make a reservation and to recive for further information about prices and tour options available at the time of your visit.
In cooperation with members of (The Good Farmers' Cooperative), Madagascar Spices operates a collective of hundreds of independent small-scale farmers who cultivate naturally organic non-GMO vanilla without the use of fertilisers or pesticides in remote polyculture environments that have remained unexposed to industrial farming throughout the history of agriculture.