Viviana Uruena

Research interests

Madagascar supplies the world with around 80 percent of natural vanilla, the second most expensive spice that can be found in the market. However, Madagascar is still one of the economically poorest countries of the world.

Despite its natural richness, Madagascar's remarkable biodiversity is threatened by rising demands from today's global markets, as well as from vanilla's price volatility (farmers opt for alternative crops when prices fall). The overall goal of the "Diversity Turn in Land Use Science" project is to develop socially as well as ecological sustainable strategies of land use. For this purpose economic, social as well as ecological aspects are investigated simultaneously. The vanilla production in Madagascar functions here as an example of an international value chain with strong focus on small scale farmers.

As part of the transdisciplinary research group Diversity Turn in Land Use Science, my working package: "Vertical market integration and trust: case study of vanilla's value chain in north-eastern Madagascar" focuses on how to improve trust relations along the vanilla's value chain. In particular, it seeks to address the following questions: What  role does  trust  play  in  the creation  and  success  of  business  relations?  How  does  the  formation  of  productive  groups affect  trust,  cooperation  and  social  cohesion  among  community  members? How does the vertical integration strategy affect existing networks of mutual support?