Sending to Madagascar
Famous for its rich-flavoured vanilla used in cupcakes and baked goods worldwide, Madagascar is a country with equally rich and unique wildlife, some of which is found nowhere else on earth.Situated off the coast of the African continent, approximately 500km from Mozambique, the country is the globe's fourth biggest island. Madagascar has a hot, tropical climate; great for its rainforests but which unfortunately brings with it cyclones and destructive floods.
Despite the beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife as depicted in movies such as DreamWorks' 'Madagascar', the country has been subject to political instability since 2009, with riots as recent as 2014.
When it comes to the transport of goods, unsurprisingly vanilla counts as one of the country's biggest exports, along with coffee, cloves, shellfish and sugar. The biggest imports for Madagascar are capital goods for manufacturing, plus petroleum, consumer goods and food.
When sending packages to Madagascar, it's important to be aware of customs and import rules. Many of the items found on Madagascar's prohibited lists are standard fare as for many other countries, such as live animals, fish, crustaceans, as well as natural pearls, fruit machines and pornography.
However the list also goes on to include many other less usual products...
Vanillin, the artificial version of vanilla extract used in baking, may not be imported, in tablet form or otherwise. Essential oils, perfume and cosmetics flavoured with vanilla or vanillin are also prohibited. This is likely an attempt to combat counterfeit or low grade vanilla production in the country, and protect what is arguably Madagascar's most important industry.
Also in the food category is preserved fish, vegetables and plums; these must bear a stamp indicating the country of origin, and this must be visible on every receptacle, else it will not be admitted.
Certain rubber items carry prohibitions; these includes condoms, baby dummies and comforters, unless they are made from hot-vulcanised pure rubber or a material approved by the Ministry of Health. Other unusual items on the list include wicker baskets, and clothing that may be mistaken for military wear.
While products of animal origin are prohibited, certain items can be admitted to Madagascar conditionally; this includes items such as human hair, horse hair and bird feathers.
Dairy products, natural honey and eggs are also only admitted conditionally. Other foodstuffs carrying restrictions include fruit, nuts, coffee, chocolate, green tea, pepper, vanilla and cloves. When it comes to beverages, absinth is an absolute no-no, while some wines and aperitifs will also be subject to conditions. The import restrictions for food and beverages are fairly comprehensive so if in doubt check with the Universal Postal Union or customs authorities.
Once you've got your head around the restrictions and made sure that your parcel's contents are not going to raise any red flags, it's time to package your parcel. Make sure fragile or breakable items are well padded with tissue or bubble wrap, and use strong tape to cover any openings in the parcel securely.
You will also need to complete a customs declaration; packages worth £270 or less require a CN22 form, while contents over £270 will need the CN23 form. Write the address clearly on the front and attach the customs forms, then you'll be ready to leave your parcel in its safe place ready for collection by Parcel Pete.