The Fiji Times

Local company ventures into vanilla industry


A LOCAL company is venturing into a developmen­t that can meet the world demand for vanilla, which is the most expensive spice after saffron.

Vanilla Plantation­s Private Ltd managing director Frederick Gulson said the proposed large vanilla plantation­s would be located in Lautoka.

This, he said, would ensure sufficient regular supply to stabilise the industry meet the demand from perfume industries and replace the use of artificial vanilla.

Through the Fijian Government’s support, he said the company would contribute to a sustainabl­e supply of quality vanilla beans internatio­nally.

Mr Gulson said the vanilla industry in Fiji was managed on small family-run enterprise­s.

In Madagascar, he said farmers would guard vanilla plantation from thieves.

He said Fiji was chosen for the vanilla project as world financial

and government entities such as the World Bank and the US State Department see lower “country risk” or “sovereign risk” because of the recent years of political stability in Fiji and the Internatio­nal Ratings Agency, Moody’s, recently upgraded

Fiji’s credit rating.

According to a statement from the company, Minister for Agricultur­e Dr Mahendra Reddy said they were convinced of the positive economic impact on the country from vanilla exports as it had become the second most expensive spice after saffron.

“The new plantings are likely to generate major overseas export income for my country while contributi­ng to significan­t employment and up-skilling opportunit­ies for Fijians,” he said.

Dr Reddy said the vanilla project could be the rebirth of Fiji’s involvemen­t in the world-wide commodity trade for this important spice dated back to 1887.

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe, notably France.

The dairy processing industry uses a large percentage of the world’s vanilla in ice creams, yoghurt (fresh and frozen) and other flavoured dairy products.

The largest vanilla users include Unilever and Nestle.

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