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VANILLA MARKET UPDATE 2019

Vanilla cultivation requires intense, continuous manual labour and months of curing. It take four years for a new plant to be productive. When prices are high, beans are easily stolen, but at the same time planting in new areas increases. When prices are low, vanilla often produces a loss, so farmers shift away from vanilla, turning to cash crops for immediate profit.

Madagascar and Indonesia regularly face natural disasters. Indonesia, the world’s second-largest vanilla-growing region, endured several tsunamis and earthquakes over the past year. Newer areas are yet to achieve sizable crops. Uganda or India were expected to challenge to the dominating Madagascar market, but Papua New Guinea did it quietly. From less than 50 MT in 2015,PNG produced 200 MT in 2018.

Madagascar continues to be the largest supplier of vanilla. All major vanilla buyers have a presence. In 2016, new practices were introduced to fast track green bean drying techniques. Flavour companies encouraged local exporters in Madagascar to install drying ovens for accelerated curing. Traders also encouraged vacuum packing of incompletely cured vanilla to retain moisture and prevent spoilage. Quality was a casualty. Beans were returned due to poor quality.

With the demand for quick dried vanilla dropping in Madagascar, quality is expected to improve. Heavy rains and delayed flowering has reduced the quantity of Madagascan output. The vanilla crop is estimated to be in the range of 1600 MT to 1800MT in 2019.

Indonesia was once the second largest producer of Vanilla. It has always exported cuts and lower grade vanilla. In recent years beans are being smuggled from Papua New Guinea re-export. The Indonesian volume is predicted to be less than 200 MT.

Uganda beans were of very good quality in the last decade, but rising vanilla prices led to accelerated curing of immature beans, which has affected the quality of Uganda beans adversely over the last few years. Production is forecast at 50-70 MT.

India was seen a a promising area for quality vanilla with new areas being planted every year and flavour companies encouraging and participating in the growth. In 1998, Vanilla was promoted by the Spices Board in India and farmers in the South of India started inter cropping their farms with Vanilla. Prices were rising and planting was rapid . It was an exciting Vanilla phase of more planting. Farmers were just in time to ride the wave of high prices. By 2004-2005, 200 MT were exported, by 2008-09 it was 300 MT. But, with the falling prices, farmers were less interested in growing vanilla. Interest has revived and new vines are being planted. Production in 2019 is forecast to be about 50 MT.

NOTE: India has been producing high quality vanilla for many years but it is events in Madagascar that affect the global supply. More than 80% of the world’s vanilla comes from Madagascar.

May 2019