After a devastating drought which has gone on for the last three years, the country of Madagascar is in dire straights. The poor weather on top of questionable working practices has left the region as one of the poorest in the world. It is because of these factors that experts are saying the price of vanilla is set to rise which could be bad news for a country like the United States which is a large buyer of vanilla. It is even worse for the people of Madagascar who at the moment are not only having trouble affording food but they may also have trouble finding work in general.

The three year drought and its consequences

After three years of drought the vanilla crop in Madagascar, the world's largest producer of the flower, has been decimated. The crop was already in danger due to working environments and previous droughts but this years was made worse by El Nino. This has put most of the country in famine-like circumstances on the brink of collapse. Around 60 percent of the population is in poverty while 20 percent are in danger of malnutrition and starving to death. The drought has taken what already was a disenfranchised population and pushed them into starvation.

The price of vanilla set to rise

Since Madagascar produces 85 percent of the world's vanilla, a drought in the area has hurt the market and helped the price of the crop soar.

Major companies have had to raise their prices and many smaller businesses are beginning to see the strain as a result. Prices have increased more than double in previous years and for the region in peril there doesn't appear to be any break on the horizon. As poverty and malnutrition continue in the weather torn farming communities of Madagascar, companies which buy and sell vanilla are struggling to find a profit behind the product which will only serve to hurt the farming communities more.

This further exacerbates issues of unfair labor practices and questionable trade practices behind the popular flower. It is a bad year for vanilla and the future is not looking so sweet either.

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