Govt sets vanilla harvest dates

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Govt sets vanilla harvest dates
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The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, has announced vanilla harvest period for season A, 2024.

Speaking at the Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, Minister Bwino announced that the harvest season will commence on June 24 and conclude on September 23.

The declaration of the vanilla harvest date, introduced in 2019, has been recognised as one of the most effective measures in addressing the challenges facing the vanilla industry in the country.

"For those who may not know, the harvest date is the designated time when vanilla growers should begin harvesting their crops each season. It has been five years since my Ministry spearheaded this initiative," said Bwino.

He highlighted that the vanilla sector contributed $20.66 million in export earnings in 2023.

Uganda's vanilla industry has seen remarkable growth over the past five years.

"Export revenue increased from 4.1 metric tons in 2019 to 266.7 metric tons in 2023, showing a percentage growth of 78 percent," Minister Bwino said.

This growth is attributed to increased production and the adoption of better agricultural practices by farmers.

Despite its success, the vanilla sector faces several challenges, including premature harvests and market volatility.

"The vanilla industry in Uganda is still faced with a number of challenges which include premature harvests, theft, undercover processing, and illicit trade," the minister said.

Agriculture minister Bwino urged farmers to respect the set dates

To address these issues, the Ministry has introduced measures such as the registration and licensing of all vanilla traders and processors.

Minister Bwino said it was important to adhere to the set harvest dates to ensure quality and market competitiveness.

"Growers should harvest only fully mature and ripe vanilla beans, adhering to the approach of selective harvesting of only mature beans," he urged.

The Ministry will enforce strict measures against those who do not comply with the regulations.

Citing figures from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Bwino said the agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in the economy, contributing 24.1 percent to the national GDP, 35 percent to export earnings, and providing livelihoods for the majority of the population.

"Global vanilla production stands at 6,843 tonnes, with Madagascar being the leading producer (78 percent), followed by Uganda (9 percent), Papua New Guinea (7 percent), Indonesia (3 percent), Mexico (2 percent), and India (1 percent)," he said.

Bwino called for collective efforts to enhance the vanilla sector.

"I call upon everyone to be vigilant and work together to address the challenges in the vanilla sub-sector in order to build a vibrant, resilient, profitable, and sustainable vanilla industry in Uganda," he said.

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