Rubirizi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vanilla farmers and middlemen in Rubirizi district have been warned against picking or buying premature beans.
Herbert Musiimenta, the Principal Agricultural Inspector with the Ministry of Agriculture says premature harvesting poses a threat to the gains Uganda has made in improving the quality of vanilla for the world market.
He says farmers should keep records of when their vanilla was pollinated to avoid premature harvesting and poor post-harvest handling.
Musiimenta was speaking on Tuesday during a tour to vanilla gardens in Rubirizi district to understand the growth of the crop.
Isiah Rugamba Mulamuzi, the Chairperson of Vanilla Farmers Rubirizi District says the delay to announce the dates of harvesting even when the crop is ready have increased insecurity.
He wants vanilla traders to be regulated under one major company and be given identification tags.
Darius Mwesigye Musasizi, the Secretary of Production Rubirizi says that the visit by the Ministry officials is a relief to farmers who have been patient to start harvesting. He says that the theft and attacks on farmers protecting their gardens are rampant in the district.
Kikashemeza Zabroni, the Rubirizi Resident District Commissioner faults companies and traders that have flooded Rubirizi for vanilla before the minister announces the dates of harvest noting that they are beginning to enforce the registration of all companies.
Florence Nagawa, the Executive Director of Vannex wants the district local governments to enforce and regulate vanilla business. She says that licensing vanilla traders is key to fighting premature harvests and poor post-harvest of the crop.