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Gov’t Sets Dates For Vanilla Harvest As Theft Of The Lucrative Crop Becomes Rampant

Ugandans are increasingly earning big from Vanilla farming

 

The government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) set July 7th as the harvest date for vanilla in the country. This follows the rampant cases of vanilla theft, which compromises the quality of vanilla beans supplied to the market.

 

Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture, announced this at a press briefing at the government-owned Uganda Media Centre.

 

According to the Minister, despite the fluctuating vanilla prices on the international market, it still fetches better prices compared to any other commercial crops in Uganda.

In the last season, a Kilogram of vanilla cost between Shillings 40,000 and 50,000, which means a farmer could fetch Shillings 21million per hectare as gross income.

 

Experts projected that during the years 2022 and 2023, the global market will be oversupplied by vanilla, which may cause price reductions. However, the prices have continued to increase.

 

According to Kyakulaga, vanilla has proved to be a sustainable and profitable crop for farmers in Uganda with the potential to deliver the participating farmers in the middle income.

 

The minister further said that vanilla has proved to be a sustainable and profitable crop for farmers in Uganda with the potential to deliver the participating farmers to the middle-income status.

 

He said the government will take punitive actions against the people who will be found selling vanilla before the harvest date, saying that this practice compromises the quality of the vanilla beans.

 

The minister also expressed concern about the crop inspectors from the ministry of agriculture who have been approving the export of immature vanilla beans contrary to their mandate.

 

Joseph Lukandwa, a member of vernix vanilla processing company, said that as buyers they have tried to maintain the prices for the last two years between Shillings 40,000 to 50,000 in order not to discourage the farmers from taking on vanilla farming as it was many years ago. Lukandwa also expressed concern about vanilla theft mostly in Kabaale, Buikwe, and Lubirizi districts among others.

 

Madagascar is the leading producer and exporter of vanilla to the international market with 1200 to 2000 metric tons exported in a single season. In 2020, Uganda exported vanilla worth US$13.3M making it the 10th largest exporter of Vanilla in the world.

 

Uganda’s market shares for vanilla dropped from 4 percent to 2.8 percent because of the poor quality of vanilla which lacked the vanillin content caused by immature harvest among other factors.

Kyakulaga however said that  reports indicate  “the global vanilla industry outlook clearly shows that Uganda grown vanilla is poised to become a significant player on the World Market.”

Uganda’s vanilla export destinations include the USA, Canada and EU countries.

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