Foreign exchange is absolutely vital to the tiny Comoros Islands which lie between the East African coast and madagascar.
Foreign exchange is absolutely vital to the tiny Comoros Islands which lie between the East African coast and madagascar. The islands, which were formerly attached to Madagascar, were totally cut off from French aid in July 1975. During the next two years they received some financial assistance from Moslem states and international aid agencies, but this is totally inadequate to cope with an economy where almost no food is grown for local consumption, with the result that well over half the imports to the islands are food products needed for survival.
SYNOPSIS: In a country where most internal traffic is carried by sailing boats, this factory is a big export earner. It is one of the larger firms which produce an essential ingredient for the western perfume industry, ylang-ylang extract. Several grades of the extract are made on the island, and absolutely nothing is wasted, even the residue is re-cycled into lower grade products.
Ylang-ylang is extracted from these plants. It is the "fixative" made from the extract which stabilises a scent, and is therefore vital to the western perfume industry. The export of this essence earns between three to four million U.S. dollars a year, of which the government takes 40 per cent. Once the plants have wilted in the shade hey are distilled in these boilers -- rusty because they have to be cleaned with salt water.
It takes 800 tons of flowers to make the eight tons of extract exported from this factory. This year the Comoros government is hoping France will restore relations, and thus bring in technology and money.