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Defending Biodiversity


Chinantla Vanilla Presidium, Mexico

Vanilla is thought to have originated in the Mexican area of Chinantla - the only region in the world where vanilla grows wild and also home to the species greatest genetic diversity. Five or six vanilla varieties have been identified here, though not all have been scientifically documented.


The Presidium involves several communities in the Chinantla region and covers all the stages involved in the production of the high quality local vanilla varieties. The project began with a small group of producers who established some initial guidelines to ensure the quality of the vanilla and preserve the forest's rich biodiversity. Later the producers worked with the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to draw up a detailed production protocol, which has now been adopted by all Presidium producers. In 2008 the Presidium producers formed the Sociedad Cooperativa Fortaleza Chinanteca (Chinantla Presidium Cooperative), with the aim of continue training activities and jointly managing all steps of the vanilla production chain: from work in the fields to processing and marketing on national and international markets. The Presidium also cooperates with technical experts and local research centers such as the Istituto Tecnológico Agropecuario n° 3 in Tuxtepec.


In recent years, the production area has been regularly hit by droughts during the ripening period of the fruit. Due to this problem, the 2012 harvest was 80% lower than the previous year. To protect against such significant loses, and allow producers to obtain a more abundant and higher quality (larger beans) yield, it is necessary to build water collection systems to irrigate the vanilla plants.



  • training for cooperative producers on technical, production, organizational and commercial issues;
  • providing technical assistance to ensure the production protocol is adopted correctly;
  • building and installing 25 rainwater collection systems (roof, gutter, tank, pump) for the irrigation of vanilla plants;
  • creation of communication materials to promote the vanilla and its production area;

Production area
Municipalities of San Felipe Usila, San Juan Bautista, Valle Nacional, San Andrés Teutila, San Andrés Teotilapan and San Pedro Ixcatlán, State of Oaxaca


25 families of producers in nine communities in the Chinantla region, 150 people in total.


Total estimated costs 2012-2013
32.000 €


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Chinantla Vanilla Presidium, Mexico
Chinantla Vanilla Presidium, Mexico
Chinantla Vanilla Presidium, Mexico
Chinantla Vanilla Presidium, Mexico

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