A Fair Go for Tongan Vanilla Growers
Queen Fine Foods, New Zealand’s largest distributor of vanilla products used widely in Kiwi homes, has entered into a
partnership with the people of Tonga to reinvigorate their vanilla industry.
The Queen Fine Foods initiative works with growers to develop sustainable and organic farming practices. It teaches farmers not only how to
grow high quality beans, but to cure their crop and add value. Growers who join the partnership receive a long term
supply agreement with Queen, which guarantees certainty of income for years to come.
The partnership has been backed by the Tongan Government and not-for-profit organisation Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand. In Tonga, the Honorable Minister for Agriculture Sione Sangster Saulala spoke about the program, “This is
a fantastic outcome for Tongan vanilla. We have the ideal conditions to grow this crop. Queen can assist us to become
world class in growing and curing vanilla.”
He said, “This is a fair program that will benefit many families in Tonga. We are particularly impressed with Queen’s
commitment to the ongoing development of the vanilla industry and the depth of technical knowledge they provide.”
This is one of many global initiatives Queen has developed to enhance the vanilla industry and importantly support the
families and villages that rely on the sales of this valuable crop. Dr Sam Himstedt, one of the Queen Fine Foods family
members who pioneered the initiative, said, “Being a family owned company, it is important for us to give back to the
industry. Vanilla is grown by families and villages in some of the remotest parts of the Pacific. Over the years we have
enjoyed seeing how our participation has helped to improve the lives of the people that we work with.”
Dr Himstedt also acknowledged that this initiative will deliver New Zealanders a better quality final product. “Most
home bakers probably don’t think about what it takes to make that little aromatic bottle of Queen vanilla extract they
have in their pantry. Our passion is for vanilla and vanilla growers, so partnerships where we work hand in hand with
growers mean we can manage the product quality from farm to pantry,” he said.
“Together with Queen’s 100-year-old exclusive extraction technique, this ensures we are producing the world’s finest
vanilla products. For our New Zealand customers it means they get unsurpassed flavour in their home baking.”
Queen has supported vanilla farmers in a number of countries and produces many premium quality vanilla products
available nationwide through participating supermarkets and specialty food stores.