Government has declared July 1 2021 to be start of the harvest period for the first season of vanilla this year, Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries announced yesterday.
In a statement, Tumwebaze explained that declaration of harvest date is one of the global best practices adopted by his ministry to fight the vices in the vanilla industry adding that vanilla harvesting takes about a month, but a harvest date declared by the government marks the beginning of the harvesting period.
He stated that they have partnered with the promoters of vanilla and farmers to identify and popularise strategies that reduce the malpractices along the vanilla value chain to improve the quality and profitability of Uganda’s vanilla.
Due to its high price, he said, there are several malpractices along the vanilla value chain including; theft, robbery, murder, immature harvesting, handling, and processing, which compromise the overall quality of the final vanilla product that is put on the market.
A kilogram of vanilla currently ranges between $149 and $300 on the world market.
“Farmers should, therefore, 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 vanilla content,” Tumwebaze said.
Vanilla is a high value horticulture crop grown and used as a flavouring agent in beverages, confectionaries, and pharmaceuticals and in Uganda vanilla is grown mainly in central, western, and Eastern regions in about 28 districts.