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Uganda delays harvesting of vanilla

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By JONATHAN KAMOGA
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Ugandan farmers will have to wait for another 30 days before they can harvest their vanilla crop this season, pushing the availability of new produce to January 15, 2020.

The earlier planned harvest time set in May this year was moved to December.

The delay has been ordered by the government as it seeks more control over the crop’s production cycle by stopping premature harvest that has compromised quality thus cutting export receipts from one of its major exports.

The delay in harvest date was also attributed to change in weather patterns, especially late rains which caused late pollination across all the key vanilla producing regions in the country.

Christopher Kibazanga, Uganda’s junior minister for agriculture said; “generally, we have observed a positive impact on the overall quality of Uganda’s vanilla which was harvested, cured and exported during the June/July 2019 harvest season. This is evidenced by testimonies from local leaders, farmers, exporters and international buyers, especially those who are organised under the umbrella of the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative.”

Uganda moved to control the crop to capitalise on the increasing world demand for all-natural and organic flavouring spice by major global food companies especially in Europe and North America by ensuring quality and quantity.

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Last year, the country produced about 300,000 kilogrammes of vanilla and exported 23,000 kilogrammes of cured vanilla worth $6.40 million.



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