Gaëtan has 19 years of experience in the organic sector and is an expert in organic certification. He is the Administrative Director of the Malagasy family business Huilerie Melville Groupe Savonnerie Tropicale.SA. Since 2020, he is also  the National Vice-President of the Entrepreneurship and Youth Commission within the Groupement du Patronat Malagasy (Group of Malagasy Employers), (FIV.MPA.MA). He was elected Vice-President of SYMABIO in 2015, then President in 2017 and 2019. He is a founding member of the first private training center for rural animator technicians in the  Atsinanana region in 2009, as well as the first business incubator in Tamatave and the IFOAM Southern Africa Network in 2020.  which includes 11 countries. He contributed to the adoption of the Malagasy regulations on organic farming in 2020 and is an active member of the Agora initiative of Landscapes and Forests of Madagascar of the Think Tank INDRI (Initiative for Development, Ecological Restoration and Innovation).

Gaëtan Etancelin

CEO, Symabio

Business Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar

Type: Union
Year of Foundation: 2011
Number of Employees: More than 30 active members in the organic sector and 9 volunteers
CEO: Gaëtan Etancelin


SYMABIO brings together all professionals in organic agriculture in Madagascar and its mission is to defend the interests of those involved in the production, collection, trading, processing, packaging, marketing and certification of organic agricultural products, as well as inputs for organic production. SYMABIO is the privileged interlocutor of public authorities and professionals, accompanying operators and participants in national negotiations on organic regulations.

SYMABIO has the following five objectives:
1) Develop agricultural areas certified in organic farming;
2) Promote certified organic production in Madagascar;
3) Defend the interests of organic farming;
4) Increase the visibility of operators in the organic sector;
5) Establish a national strategy for the development of the organic sector.


Over the last decade, organic farming has experienced a significant boom in Madagascar, now representing almost 1/3 of Malagasy production. SYMABIO was created in 2011 from the initiative of actors in the organic sector to structure themselves into a group to raise public opinion and consumers about the economic, social and environmental impacts of organic farming, as well as to become the interlocutor of this sector with the Malagasy authorities. SYMABIO contributed to the adoption of Law No. 2020-003 on Organic Agriculture in Madagascar, which entered into force on July 9, 2020. Madagascar is the fourth African country to adopt regulations on organic farming.

Example of Chocolaterie Robert: Member of Symabio

Company Name: Chocolaterie Robert
Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Year of Founding: 1940


La Chocolaterie Robert was founded in 1940 to process cocoa from Madagascar and enhance its aromatic wealth. It produces the first chocolates of pure origin from Madagascar and has the vision to become a global supplier of fine chocolates.

Since 1977, La Chocolaterie Robert belongs to the family group Ramanandraibe which is very committed to the agricultural sector and rural development of Madagascar.
The company has about 150 employees and four production units (respectively for chocolate, confectionery, chocolate bar coating and pastries).

La Chocolaterie Robert masters all stages of the value chain, from cocoa plantation to the packaging of processed cocoa products.

Market Position

The Chocolaterie Robert was the first chocolate producer in Madagascar. The company contributes to the socio-economic, technical and intellectual developments of Madagascar by working with local collaborators.

Chocolaterie Robert has nine points of sale in Madagascar, as well as a boutique in Paris, France, and a marketing office in London, England.

Type of Relationship with Smallholders

The company ensures fair remuneration for its planters and employees, conducts a sustained policy of investment in the plantation and in the factory and finances the education of the children of its employees. The brand “Chocolat Madagascar” is also certified fair trade and sustainable by the label “Raise trade – The world’s fairest chocolate”.

Products and Markets

Chocolaterie Robert produces chocolate bars, as well as confectionery (Neapolitans, whole roasted beans coated in chocolate, chocolate bars), pastries, and a range of professional products (couverture chocolate per 1 kg, crane, butter, powder and cocoa beans).

The tablets of the original brand “Robert” come in different flavors and concentrations of chocolate and are mainly intended for the domestic market. The tablets of the brand “Chocolat Madagascar” are dedicated to export and made from chocolate of fine quality, resulting from a rigorous selection of beans and a longer conching. Several products in this range have been awarded, including the 100% dark chocolate which won the Cabosse d’Or and the Gold Medal, awarded by the Academy of Chocolate 2017 (London). The tablettes of the “Les Exclusives” range are made by La Chocolaterie Robert on the basis of recipes developed by its chocolate partners. 80% of La Chocolaterie Robert’s products are sold in Madagascar and 20% are exported.


La Chocolaterie Robert certifies the quality of its products with international organic (certified by ECOCERT) and HACCP (certified by SGS) standards.

Milestones and Scaling Needs

Since June 2015 and the acquisition of a cocoa plantation in Ambanja, La Chocolaterie Robert is a planter Chocolatier or “Tree-To-Bar”. This investment ensures the vertical integration of its sector and ensures the sustainability of its activities. However, Chocolaterie Robert continues to source from its network of smallholder producers. It has also developed a long-term partnership with the farmers of Brickaville – Anivorano to ensure the continuation of cocoa farming. Dark chocolate from Brickaville’s first harvest was awarded the silver medal by the Academy of Chocolate in 2017.

In addition, La Chocolaterie Robert respects the Pure Cocoa Butter label and uses only Madagascar cocoa butter in the manufacture of all its chocolates (avoiding the usual chemical treatments).

La Chocolaterie Robert continuously invests in the equipment of the plant and its plantations to maintain optimal productivity and quality.

Example of Sahanala: Member of Symabio

Company Name: Sahanala Madagascar S.A.
Location: Ankadivato, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Year of Founding: 2010


Sahanala (which means “fields in the forest” in Malagasy) was created in 2010 at the request of Antsahabe entities and local associations by Fanamby. Fanamby is a non-profit organization managing marine and terrestrial protected areas in Madagascar founded in 1997. It is committed to reducing the pressure exerted by local populations on forests and coastal areas, while providing them with an alternative source of income.

Sahanala aims to teach producers how to respect international standards for their productions.

Market Position

Sahanala is a major player in the rural development of Madagascar which brings together, in more than 10 regions more than 18 0000 members and four federations: vanilla, spices and nuts, tourism and fishing. The vanilla sector includes more than 4,000 producer members.

Type of Relationship with Smallholders

Sahanala pursues an inclusive approach of all actors in the value chain to eliminate intermediaries and improve farmers’ incomes.

Products and Markets

The products of the sectors supported by Sahanala are of very high quality, adapted to export markets. All products in the wine sector, including processed products, are certified organic (Ecocert, EU, AB, USDA) and kosher. They are mainly intended for the international market. Sahanala also supports producers of mangue (Heiss variety), maize, and Madame Rose fragrant rice and pink rice, with the rice being mainly destined for the domestic market. Sahanala also produces spices and nuts, including ginger, black pepper, wild pepper and certfied organic cashew nuts (Ecocert, EU, AB) among others.

Main Services

Sahanala is a pioneer in digital traceability through a block chain approach to set up a system guaranteeing transparent value chains. This system makes it possible to trace all aspects of value chains, including the elimination of intermediaries, environmental responsibility and organic farming, improving farmers’ incomes, product quality, raising farmers’ awareness of their environmental impact and land maintenance. Sahanala was awarded the Supply Chain Excellence Award by edie sustainability leaders awards in 2021.


Most of the products in the sectors supported by Sahanala are Fair Trade certified and organic (Ecocert, EU, AB and/or USDA). Some products also have kosher certification.


In 2019, the American company Archers Daniel Midland (ADM) joined Sahanala, which has become one of the largest social enterprises in Madagascar. This new cooperation, called SAVAN, allows ADM to source vanilla in a sustainable way and led to the inauguration of a new factory in Antsohihy on June 13, 2020, which employs 130 employees.

The positive impacts of value chains set up with Sahanala support that engage all stakeholders (from producers of the raw material to consumers of the final product) are intensifying with the increase of Sahanala members, including producers, and the conversions to organic farming.

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