The vanilla of the village of Mandi
The history we have with our suppliers in Papua New Guinea is a true love story. Let us elaborate a little on this group.
While this is truly the case with all of our collaborators, the members of this group have created a very friendly, tender and touching dynamic with us.
This is Nicodemas Mangas. He is our English-speaking, cell phone-holding Contact Person. Nicodemas is a computer scientist and has a master's degree in Computer Science. He is not a farmer, but he is at the center of the development of the vanilla production and export business that he founded with a dozen other members of the village of Mandi.
This is his beautiful wife and children.
No one had what it took to start this business, but together they made it happen. Things that seem obvious to us in an organized country like this become a real obstacle course in Papua New Guinea. For example, Nicodemas speaks English and has a smart phone, but even if he had vanilla, how do you pay for it if he doesn't have a bank account, or even an ID card, so he can pick up the money I would send him at a bank counter? And how to make a bill without an address? Driven by a rare resourcefulness, Nicodemas surrounded himself with a farmer who has a P.O.Box; recruited a cousin who has a national ID card; another who has a bank account and together with a group of farmers, created a functional and viable business: "Mongs AG Services trade". And don't think it took them years to get organized: it only took them a few meetings between December and January 2021!
This is the village hall. Topic on the agenda: creating an export company to sell vanilla to a small Quebec company called Colibri vanille. :)
Further down, Nicodemas' cousin, Joshuas, super happy to receive the vacuum sealer I sent them and a laptop (but beware: they are proud people: they paid for the laptop in vanilla! )
And the next order was accompanied by their first invoice number 1, made with their computer. Until a few months ago, this group of farmers had no choice but to sell their vanilla at rock bottom prices to local collectors and now they are proud exporters!