Vanilla Boom Is Making People Crazy Rich

Vanilla prices have been so high that some Madagascan farmers are getting rich. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries. It’s also the world’s leading vanilla grower, producing about 80% of all vanilla beans. With the influx of cash from this valuable orchid crop, farmers are buying nicer homes, better farming equipment, and solar panels. They’re also funding schools and community organizations, and diversifying local economies to prepare for a day when vanilla prices go down. The money has brought problems, too, like increased crime. Thieves steal beans from the vines, and a lack of banks in the area leads to people hiding cash in mattresses. But the benefits are outweighing the problems, as vanilla farmers are able to leave poverty and hunger behind, and have hope for the future.

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