The government through the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has affirmed its commitment to the production and trading of quality vanilla by announcing the harvest date to the farmers to avoid premature harvest that can ruin Uganda’s market.
The State Minister of Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga while speaking to journalists at the government media center on Tuesda,y said that according to the international market Uganda is ranked second in producing quality vanilla after Madagascar the top producer.
The minister also said that because of the unique Ugandan environment compared to the rest of the world, when Ugandan vanilla when is allowed to mature it can contain the highest vanillin than any vanilla from another source anywhere in the world.
According to the Uganda Export Promotion Board, the country exported 89,038 tons of cured vanilla worth 8.33 million USD by March 2023. The minister said that this firmly positioned Uganda as a competitive origin of quality vanilla on the global market.
Now, the Ministry has set July 17 for the Vanilla harvest season A of this year to commence, in a bid to ensure quality and ripe vanilla beans that can compete on the international market.
Several serious issues have been brought about by the vanilla’s high value which includes theft of vanilla beans, robbery, murders, premature harvesting, and trade in poor quality premature beans which compromise the quality of Uganda’s vanilla. According to Kyakulaga, this has destabilized the sub-sector as farmers looking to get a return on their investment have resorted to early harvesting.
Dr. Rosemary Nanyonga Commissioner of Police and the commandant of Agricultural Police said that there are 65,000 Vanilla farmers in the country compared to the number of police personnel standing at 45,000.
Nanyonga said that the Police are to call a security meeting and map out a way of stopping vanilla theft cases which are rampant now. And on the date of the harvesting, the Agricultural Police will coordinate with the Resident District Commissioners, and other security agencies to apprehend the culprits.
Agar Ssekalaala Junior of Vanix Uganda, an exporter of vanilla said that said that based on the survey from the last 3 years, Uganda has got 65,000 farmers in 35 districts and Uganda is the second largest exporter, supplying to the global market between 100 to 200 metric tons every year.
Ssekalaala said that Vanilla all over the world is grown at the same standards by smallholders in natural circumstances very similar to Uganda without mechanization.