Vanilla trade at border banned


THE PNG Spice Industry board has banned the illegal trading of vanilla along the PNG-Indonesia border for an indefinite period to stop the loss of K50 million in foreign exchange, an official says.
National Spice Programme manager Nanda Siri said yesterday that 50 tonnes of vanilla valued at K50 million, especially from the Maprik district of East Sepik, were sold at the Wutung border post in West Sepik to Indonesian buyers last year.
“The illegal trading of vanilla to Indonesia buyers from Jayapura in West Papua province has contributed in making Indonesia the world’s second largest vanilla exporter after Madagascar,” Siri said.
He said that vanilla farmers simply sold beans in bundles to Indonesian buyers.
“They (Indonesian buyers) then get the beans and package them labeling them as Indonesian vanilla. So we have put the ban to come up with a policy to regulate the trading of vanilla.
“Also we have to check the quality of the vanilla. So now I’m working with Investment Promotion Authority to look for importers to import vanilla from PNG. I will work with locals who have export licences to export vanilla so that vanilla in PNG can be packaged as PNG vanilla and exported to overseas markets.”
Siri said that he would meet trade officials at the Indonesian embassy in Port Moresby to establish legitimate Indonesian vanilla buyers.
“I’m now working on a policy to properly regulate our vanilla industry. In the past I was unable to do up a policy because I lacked the capacity to do so.”
Siri said that the ban would help PNG vanilla famers in the long run.
The board has also asked PNG Customs, PNG Defence Force, police, and National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority officials to stop all vanilla trading at the border.