Vanilla exports need control: Bird

Business

VANILLA exports from East Sepik are being conducted under almost no regulation, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird says.
Bird said the issue with the sector was that periodic global high prices led to early harvests and a decrease in export quality.
He said this in response to a recent increase in vanilla prices on the world market.
He said vanilla needed long-term planning for growers to benefit consistently.
“The vanilla story is that every 10 to 12 years, we have a cyclone through Madagascar. And at the moment East Sepik is the second largest supplier of vanilla in the world – supplying about 200 tonnes,” Bird said.
“Next year, we should go up to about 250 tonnes and I believe we should be supplying about a 1000 tonnes which would position us nicely for the long-term.
“The problem we have with vanilla is that there are no regulation or controls.”
He is working with the provincial administration to enforce some rules.
“We are going to pass legislation through the East Sepik assembly to place some controls on it,” Bird said.
“We also need to stop the trading happening across the border to Indonesia because there is no regulation or control with that and quality has fallen dramatically.
“Vanilla takes nine months to mature on the vine.
“And when the prices go up and there are no controls, people start harvesting at six months which destroys the quality.
“I want to make sure there is consistency from the grower through to the exporters to the buyers overseas and the end-user.
“I want to establish a long-term market for vanilla for East Sepik. It has to be long-term and we cannot allow this collapse again as it would be irresponsible.”
Department of Agriculture and Livestock deputy secretary Steven Mesa said the vanilla price soared to US$600 (K1938) after a cyclone hit Madagascar, the world’s top producer of vanilla, early this year.

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