VANILLA farmers in Kagera Region are looking for reliable markets to sell the crop which is piled up in their godowns.
Mr Deusdedith Mwombeki, the Secretary of the new Vanilla Kagera Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) raised the concern that due to lack of reliable markets, some of the private buyers were offering just 3,000/- per kilogramme of dried vanilla.
“We have received reports that the crop (vanilla) has found a local market where in Zanzibar fresh vanilla is sold at an average of between 100,000/- and 150,000/- per kilogramme, while the dried one is sold between 800,000/- and 1m/- per kilo. We appeal for government’s intervention to enable us to get competitive price.
“For a long time, farmers in Kagera Region depended on coffee as their main cash crop. Thus, diversifying to vanilla will greatly improve the farmers’ economy and livelihoods,” he said.
Acting Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), Mr Isaya Tendega was recently quoted saying that over 300 tonnes of vanilla crop are ready for selling while purchasers should buy a kilogramme of vanilla at 15,000/-.
“The government is inviting private companies to buy the crop by offering competitive prices to the farmers,” he said.
He directed District Agricultural Irrigation and Cooperative Officers (DAICOs) in the eight councils of Muleba, Bukoba DC, Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe, Kyerwa, Missenyi and Bukoba MC to register vanilla farmers and assist them to form SACCOS.
Meanwhile, a section of vanilla farmers who sold their crop to Maendeleo ya Wakulima (MAYAWA) during 2021/22 farming season were demanding over 2.9m/-.
Cultivation of this crop is environmentally friendly as it can change part of the land that was not friendly to agriculture into a highly fertile area due to the way the crop is taken care during its cultivation.
Vanilla is a very profitable commercial plant with reports indicating that a kilogramme of dried vanilla can be sold at 1m/- at the export market.
Vanilla is suitable for agroforestry. It is cultivated in tropical areas where there are many varieties of crops. The use of vanilla includes making medicines, cosmetics and is used to add flavour to foods like ice cream.