Stick em up!
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CTA. 2002. Stick ?em up!. Spore 98. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46490
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore98.pdf
The continued high prices for vanilla on the world market have led various countries to establish or revive vanilla production. Madagascar, the world s leading producer of vanilla (Vanilla fragrans), has not been able to contain the sky-rocketing...
The continued high prices for vanilla on the world market have led various countries to establish or revive vanilla production. Madagascar, the world s leading producer of vanilla (Vanilla fragrans), has not been able to contain the sky-rocketing prices, since the government liberalised the sector in 1995 and abolished fixed price levels. Now producers are in danger of losing part of their market share to competitor countries. At present, the country produces around 1,200 MT of cured vanilla annually, while the total worldwide output of cured vanilla is around 2,200 MT. Curing is a six-month process, during which the green vanilla beans are first exposed alternately to moist and dry heat for 20 days, after which the beans are slowly dried to enhance and bring out their well-known flavour in the familiar form of a vanilla stick. Vanilla fragrans is regarded to yield the best or Bourbon quality, which is preferred for foodstuffs, like ice, cakes, chocolate and drinks. Vanilla tahitensis (South Pacific), V. java (Indonesia) and V. pompona (West Indies), yield vanillas that are used for flavouring tobacco, soaps, perfumes and medicines. The average price for green vanilla in 2001 has been around 20/kg, which in 2000 was 13/kg and in 1999 only 4/kg. Prices for cured vanilla amount to approximately t 160/kg for 2002, so eight times more than green beans fetch. The steep price increase is also driving importers and processors to look for alternatives, both for the product as for the producers. Bioprocessing methods have been developed to harvest more fragrance per unit of cured vanilla and synthetic vanilla is being mixed with, or replacing natural vanilla. Nothing beats the real thing, though, and importers are actively looking for new producers. India and China have taken up vanilla production, but their first vanilla will not reach the market before 2003. Small wonder that last season vanilla growers in Tonga were surprised by eight visiting vanilla buyers, offering 22.50 per green kilo. Tonga produces between 35 t and 40 t of bourbon vanilla annually. [caption to illustration] Three kilos of cured vanilla a square metre, that s almost Euro 500