KAMPALA – Hon Christopher Kibanzanga, the State Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has declared January 15, 2020, the harvest date for season 2 of vanilla.
Addressing press on Thursday 14 at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the minister warned that anyone found harvesting or in possession of vanilla before this date will be dealt with by the government accordingly.
He said that farmers are required to pick only mature ripe vanilla beans.
“I would like to direct all my Ministry Staff to work closely with the Private Sector to further popularize this new harvest date and work with key agencies to enforce it,” said Kibanzanga.
Mr. Alex Lwakuba, the Commissioner for Crop Production said that one of the major guidelines for Vanilla growers is to only harvest vanilla within 9 months from pollination.
“This is good enough time for the Vanilla to achieve the flavour that is preferred by buyers in the international market,” he said.
According to the MAAIF, there is an increasing demand for all-natural and organic vanilla from major Global food companies especially in Europe and North America. For instance, in 2015, Nestle announced a major plan to go all-natural for all their products and eliminate artificial additives. Global consumption of vanilla has averaged between 2,100MT to 2,400 MT per year over the last 10 years.
However, the most recent market trends indicate that supply from the key producing countries including Madagascar, Indonesia, Uganda and others is now picking, which, in effect, means that prices will continue to fall in the near future. This is evidenced by the reduced farm-gate prices which averaged UGX 210,000 in the June/July 2019 compared to UGX 250,000 in December 2018. This calls for urgent attention to vanilla quality enhancing measures that will ensure that farmers fetch a fairly good price.