Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vanilla farmers in Uganda will earn less money from their harvest season starting July because of an expected drop in prices due to an increase in global production.
Chariton Namuwoza, the Executive Director Vanilla Exporters of Uganda-Vanex, said on Thursday that they cannot tell how much the crop will sell at the garden but they expect it to drop below Shillings 170,000 per kilogram it cost last season.
He said it could go as low as 70,000 shillings a kilogram.
Aggrey Bagire, the State Minister for Agriculture said vanilla prices will fall because Madagascar, the biggest producer in the world has stabilized following a storm it experienced in 2017.
This affected production leading to a raise in global vanilla prices. However, Madagascar which produces up to 80% of the world vanilla is now producing at full capacity again which will consequently lead to a fall in prices.
Bagire said farmers in Uganda must harvest the green bean from July 6, 2020. “Anyone seen harvesting or carrying vanilla before that time will be arrested,” he warned.
Last month, he said they made arrests in Mukono where vanilla harvested in Kasese was being kept. Bagire said they tested it and found it was poor quality because the beans were harvested when not ready.
Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors used in a variety of recipes for drinks, cakes, cookies and yoghurt. Uganda’s earnings from vanilla last year were Shillings 10.2 billion from 30,000 kilograms the country traded.
Bagire says with the growing number of people growing the crop and more volumes harvested, he expects the country to attract investors to put up a processing plant for the crop.
At the moment, Aga Sekalala through Uvan Uganda limited is the only processor of Vanilla in the country. A lot of it is exported unprocessed.