The Edible Forests of Madagascar
At Yogi, we desire to “do good” on a local, national and global level. We do this with every ingredient we source – over 125 botanicals from more than 30 countries around the world – and through numerous partnerships and programs that support sustainability, quality and social responsibility.
One such partnership is with Naturefund, an organization that concentrates on buying forests and replanting them to protect habitat for a great variety of species. Together with Naturefund, Yogi began a pilot project in 2015 in Madagascar and trained ten smallholder families in the method of dynamic agroforestry. Dynamic agroforestry is a reforestation method with which a forest quickly grows and food is cultivated at the same time. This creates “edible forests” with a large abundance of products.
Naturefund has already used this method successfully in its projects in Latin America and wanted to know if edible forests were also possible in Madagascar. The answer is clearly yes. The yields in the ten new edible forests are higher than in traditional cultivation. Some plants even have twice the normal yield! The ground also recovers well and can better supply the plants with water.
One of the “pilot farmers” is a member of Tsiry. Tsiry is an initiative by a handful of vanilla farmers who met in 2008 at a school in the village of Andampin’ny Fosa and decided to jointly cultivate sustainable vanilla. Their goal was also to help the families of the members and protect the environment. Since then, Tsiry has grown to 386 members. The children of all Tsiry members go to school, rather than having to stay at home and help in the field.
Dynamic agroforestry is ideal for the cultivation of sustainable vanilla. The vanilla tree originally grows in the forest and requires a variety of companion plants. The edible forests provide not only good and healthy vanilla but also a multitude of foods for the families. Tsiry has now asked Naturefund whether 50 more smallholder farmers can be trained in the method.
We are very pleased by the success of this project so far!