Interview of Mr. Jean-François SAVIN, Director of PLANIFOLIA LTD
PLANIFOLIA LTD is a Mauritian Company which is in the activity of Vanilla. Mr, Jean -François Savin who is the shareholder and director of the Company has accepted to provide us with some information on his business.
PLANIFOLIA is the name of the vanilla species mainly cultivated in Madagascar.
What is the main objective of the company?
The main objective of Planifolia Ltd is to become a strategic partner in the vanilla supply of the Top 10 of the Flavors and Fragrances sector and of the Food Business but also to develop a middle market client base to diversify our client portfolio. The securing of our various supply chains, the development of a quality management system and the unfailing adherence to ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative) are the underlying objectives.
What are the different products offered?
Our main market is vanilla pod extraction which we buy, prepare and refine with our subsidiary in Madagascar. The so-called Gourmet vanilla is also part of our product portfolio like powdered vanilla. We offer conventional vanilla and organic vanilla. At the request of certain customers, we are working on Fairtrade vanilla and on dedicated programs with Growers associations (Friendly Farmers) to ensure traceability and offer them technical and social assistance.
Can you please provide us with some information on the process of the vanilla production?
Vanilla continues to be cultivated in an artisanal way by more than 80,000 small farmers whose land areas do not exceed on average 1/2 hectare. It is polenized by hand and harvested by hand as well. At harvest time, vanilla is a kind of big green bean. This green vanilla will go into a preparation process including scalding, sweating, sun drying, drying in the shade, classification and refining. In the end, 6kg of green pod will become 1kg of vanilla ready for export. All the preparation takes between 6 to 8 months.
What is unique about your business?
We are an international team that combines the traditional side of vanilla cultivation with the professional side of the sectors of use. Our teams share the same state of mind and are part of the desire to promote Malagasy and international professional skills. We are very proud of our teams. Our internal relationships are similar to our DNA whereby they are based on respect for people and on ethics that are both behavioral and environmental. That's probably what makes us unique or at least different.
What are your future projects?
We are in the process of participating in the creation of a "Private Equity" investment fund whose vocation is to take majority stakes in companies in the same sectors but having other natural products. The objective is to constitute a Group mastering the sourcing of strategic products and compliance in terms of safety food. The creation of a common dedicated Label is one of the objectives of the fund as well as the pooling of certain areas of development or reflections such as insurance, logistics, financial support, among others.
Have you implemented Social Projects in your business?
We have our own NGO (Help Mada) whose vocation is to intervene on 2 types of projects: Bush dispensaries and schools. We are at our 6th achievement and this year we are proud to be able to count on a German partner who relays our approach and supports us financially (www.help-mada.org). We are currently working on the project of a new bush dispensary.