By MALUM NALU
THE price of vanilla has shot up to almost K2000 per kilogramme – higher than the boom of the early 2000s – but there is no spice board to control the industry, a senior public servants says.
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.
Mesa was involved in pushing vanilla production in the country in the late 1990s and early 2000s when prices hit record levels.
He said it was unfortunate that there was no board in place at the moment.
“The prices of vanilla have really gone up,” he said.
“In Papua New Guinea, vanilla is now fetching K1200 to K1400 per kg. The people who have continued to grow vanilla, after the boom of the 2000s ended, will benefit from this huge price hike.”
Mesa said the past practice of adding foreign material to vanilla to increase the weight must be discouraged. That should be the responsibility of the spice board.
“We still have the best vanilla in the world,” he said.
“The plenifolia species which we grow in PNG is the best. However, our vanilla is taken across the border to Indonesia. So it is not counted as part of our exports. This is a practice we are trying to minimise.
“I have had people coming to me and enquiring about licences, export permits and all these because of the very high price of vanilla. This is why I want the spice board to be re-established.”
The department of agriculture and livestock Southern Region office at 6-Mile in Port Moresby is carrying out the board’s activities.
Overseas media reported the price of vanilla, used in chocolate, cakes, drinks and perfume as well as ice cream, has swiftly increased.
By MALUM NALU