Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Papua New Guinea vanilla farmers expect improved prices

Papua New Guinea farmers have been urged to produce high quality vanilla in anticipation of increased prices in the near future.

The PNG Spice Industry Board has predicted a demand for our vanilla due to an expected short supply on the world market.

Chief executive officer Michael Waisime has called on registered spice exporters to advice farmers to reactivate and rehabilitate their vanilla farms as prices were expected to increase favorably during this harvest season.

More awareness and training amongst farmers is needed to maintain proper curing practices to improve quality.

Exporters were reminded to coordinate with their farmers to produce high-grade vanilla to maximise on this market opportunity.

Mr Waisime said this week that the world’s major supplier of vanilla, Madagascar, has had 80% of its vanilla plantings affected by an underground incurable crop disease.

Civil unrest in the country has also affected vanilla production.

He said supply of vanilla on the world market was down by 60 per cent and the shortfall needed to be met by other vanilla producing countries including PNG.

He said PNG, the fourth-largest producer, stood to gain with increased demand for its vanilla and subsequently prices for organic vanilla was expected to rise worldwide.

Mr Waisime said according to information received by the SIB, there might be massive government intervention including appropriate research work to revive the vanilla industry in Madagascar.

 It was estimated that world supply of vanilla would face a shortfall for the next five years or more.

Mr Waisime said his office had detailed a number of measures that registered spice exporters needed to adhere to.

These include submitting 2008 export returns and statements, review of forward contract sale for 2009, and review of farm gate prices.

He urged exporters, producers and interested people to contact his office for more information.

However, observers in the spice industry have cautioned the vanilla producers and farmers nationwide not to get excited like what was experienced several years ago when PNG had a vanilla boom.

PNG producers must not get carried away and should seek more information from the SIB and agricultural agencies.

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