Enhancing the livelihoods of women smallholder farmers

We have joined forces with the Ford Foundation & Oxfam to enable our supplier Firmenich and other partners to enhance the livelihoods of women smallholder farmers in the ylang-ylang essential oil value chain.

Why we started

Women Smallholder farmers

Approximately 80% of the population in the Comoros Islands- which are off the coast of East Africa – work in agriculture. In continuation of the Firmenich Global Ylang Program, we launched a new programme in 2017 to ensure a better representation of women in the supply chain and to help them to get a higher and more stable income. The project aims to improve their working conditions and to increase access to health insurance. Currently, 250 women are benefiting from this initiative.

Continuous improvement

Over the last few years, through our project, we have made positive change by:
  • Reinforcing the role and presence of women in the ylang ylang supply chain. Two out of four of the smallholder cooperatives now have a women majority. Pickers’ groups mainly composed by women have also been created.
  • Strengthening soft skills of pickers and women farmers by providing training on literacy and numeracy, entrepreneurship and family planning.
  • Providing training on quality management and distillation. Quality test procedures have been taught to the partners to improve monitoring standards.
  • Promoting sustainable agricultural practices with best practice training on picking, cultivation and field management.
  • Promoting income diversification for women, with special training on generating income activities including gardening and tree nurseries, as well as poultry farming.
  • Setting an insurance system adapted to ylang ylang smallholders, including women pickers. 250 Women, mainly pickers, will have access to the health insurance system.

Meet the supplier

“Ylang Ylang essential oils are vital to the perfumery palette, yet ylang ylang is one of the most fragile supply chains. Joining forces with Unilever & the Ford Foundation, and working with outstanding implementers like Bernardi and 2 mains, has enabled us to expand our reach and make production conditions of this essential oil more sustainable for all stakeholders in the supply chain.” Sébastien Tissot, VP Sustainable Sourcing Strategy at Firmenich.

Meet the farmer

“…. This is a real development for us. It gives us the reassurance that we are paid fairly and for the exact weight of flowers we have picked.” Mme Issouf, Picker, Chaweni Cooperative (talking about the literacy and numeracy session)