Vanilla and Hot Money in Madagascar

Men armed with fishing spears, clubs and machetes pose for portrait while guarding a vanilla plantation in Madagascar’s northeastern Sava region. Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Small farmers in the northeast of Madagascar produce 80% of the world’s vanilla. Due to a series of factors, including climate change and market liberalization, these farmers are experiencing extreme fluctuations in the value of their crop. This podcast explores the causes of those fluctuations and the strange and surprising impacts the boom and bust cycle has on the people of northeastern Madagascar. This piece was produced by Kyle Richmond-Crosset, Serena Sung-Clarke, Shiloh Sumanthiran, and Juliane Ding.

Selected music was obtained through the Free Music Archive.

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