KAMPALA, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's ministry of agriculture on Thursday said the country is bracing itself for a slump in global vanilla prices by focusing on quality.
Aggrey Bagiire, minister of state for agriculture told reporters here that the surplus in the global market is attributed to the increase in supply from Madagascar, which was previously hit by a cyclone. Madagascar is the world's largest producer of vanilla.
"There is now a clear downward trend in global prices as a result of increasing supply from Madagascar and other vanilla producing countries," he said.
"This trend means that our farmers and exporters may receive much lower prices for their vanilla in the coming seasons," the minister added, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic may also further lower the price.
He said in order to harness the best opportunities of such a global vanilla market situation, farmers and exporters need to focus on quality.
"We in Uganda, must of necessity, identify and emphasize strategies that guarantee high quality of vanilla that we put on the market in order to ensure a sustainable and better price for farmers."
The minister said farmers must harvest their vanilla when it is fully mature -- that is nine months after pollination.
He noted that traders and processors need to adhere to the professional vanilla handling and processing standards to attain the highest possible vanillin content that the market requires.
Bagiire warned that anyone found flaunting the regulations would face prosecution. Uganda accounts for about five percent of the global production. Enditem