Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze has declared July 1, 2021, on-wards as the appropriate date to start harvesting vanilla for the first season of the year 2021.
Tumwebaze said that declaration of harvest date is one of the global best practices adopted by Ministry of Agriculture to fight the vices in the vanilla industry.
“Vanilla harvesting process takes about a month, but a harvest date declared by Government marks the beginning of the harvesting period,” he said.
In Uganda Vanilla is grown mainly in central, western, and Eastern regions in about 28 districts.
While the global price of vanilla has dropped, the Minister said, of all the crops grown in Uganda, vanilla still fetches the highest price per kilogram.
Tumwebaze said several malpractices along the vanilla value chain including immature harvesting, handling, and processing are compromising the overall quality of the final vanilla product that is put on the market.
“Poor quality of vanilla ultimately affects the prices that are offered for Uganda’s vanilla by the international buyers. Consequently, the actors including farmers earn less” he said.
To address this, he said
government, through Agriculture Ministry has partnered with the promoters of vanilla like Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the vanilla exporters association of Uganda (VANEX), UVAN and farmers to identify and popularize strategies that reduce the malpractices along the vanilla value chain to improve the quality and profitability of Uganda’s vanilla.
The Minister urged farmers harvest only fully mature and ripe vanilla.
“Simultaneously, traders and processors must ensure that they buy only mature vanilla and ensure professional handling and processing of vanilla to attain the highest possible vanillin content”
“If we can work together to address the practices that reduce the quality of vanilla, we will be in a stronger position to protect our farmers from the price fluctuations on the worldwide vanilla market and Uganda will become a number one supplier of the high-quality vanilla in the world”.