As vanilla prices shoot, farm­ers and deal­ers

The East African - - BUSINESS - CHRISTO­PHER TUSIIME Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

VANILLA FARM­ERS in Uganda have never had it bet­ter, with farm-gate prices stand­ing at about $70 per kilo for the price-sen­si­tive pro­duce.

With a kilo sell­ing at $500 on the world mar­ket — a jump from $300 in 2017 — both farm­ers and deal­ers are seek­ing ways of boost­ing pro­duc­tion to sat­isfy the mar­ket.

The Uganda Ex­port Pro­mo­tions Board said that the coun­try is tar­get­ing to ex­port 100 tonnes of vanilla this year, from about 75 tonnes ex­ported last year.

Noah Maalanti, the di­rec­tor of Africaug.com, a vanilla ex­port firm, said the sup­ply can­not match the de­mand in over­seas mar­kets, even as the prices con­tinue to rise. He said that a drop in the vol­ume of ex­ports reg­is­tered in early 2014 was due to a fall in global mar­ket prices, which forced some farm­ers to aban­don the crop.

“In early 2016, the ex­port price was around $80. By the end of that year, it was around $100 and at the be­gin­ning of 2017 it rose to $300; it now stands at $500 per kilo­gramme. Farm­ers should start plant­ing more vanilla now,” said Mr Maalanti.

Farm­ers are up­beat about the cur­rent farm-gate price of $70 a kilo-

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