VANILLA ZONES AND SYSTEMS
CULTIVATION AND GROWING SYSTEMS
VANILLA ZONES AND SYSTEMS OF PRACTICE
HISTORICAL & ISSUES
The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first ones to cultivate vanilla. Vanilla first left Mexico in the early 1500 s on ships bound for spain. It was originally believed only to have value as a perfume.
Until the 19 th century, Mexico had the monoply in vanilla cultivation, but now Madagascar ( the island republic in the indian ocean ) and indonesia are the leading producers and exporters. Among the otehr vanilla growing countries besides Mexico are - India, Uganda (East africa ) ,Fiji, and Tonga and the comoros islands in the indian ocean.
Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family , the largest family of flowering plants in the world.
It isthe tropical orchid and there are about 150 varieties of vanilla. Though only two types -Bourbon and tahitian are used commercially.
Vanilla can also be distinguised from different growing zones as per their flavour and profile. Bourbon vanilla as per producer- Madagascar, comoros, reunion or the java beans produced from the java islands of Indonesia and Bali and the mexican vanilla are some to name. Tahitian vanilla is exclusive to Tahiti islands where it si grown.
They differ in flavour profile,organoleptic and analytic properties as a result of growing conditions , harvesting and the curing process. The bourbon vanilla ranks top in terms of quality and use.
Some of the major cultivators from Indian ocean and south of equator include - COMORO, COOK ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA,GUADELOUPE,INDONESIA ,MADAGASCAR ,MEXICO,REUNION,SEYCHELLES,TONGA,TURKEY, ZIMBABWE etc..
Aggregated global demand of vanilla is estimated to be at about 3000 MT a year.
Three countries US, France and germany account for almost 80 percent of world imports of vanilla with US as a major consumer of the world. Among other that consume vanilla include Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK, Spain as the major importers.
Vanilla beans are mainly used as an ingredient in the food industry. Flavour seems to be the major application and used in the vanilla extract form.
Only a small form of vanilla is consumed directly except in France where the proportion is about 20%. The dairy industry is the largest consumer of vanilla extracts and flavours, the confectionery, baking, and beverage industries are the other major industrial users.
Natural vanilla is also having competetion from synthetic vanillin, ethyl vanillin, other natural flavours, and tissue cultured products.
The supply side is largely charecterised by unstable production because of natural reasons, and a very small number of countries who enjoy the large market power. This combines with a aggregate price-inelastic demand provides the necessary conditions for a highly unstable and speculative vanilla market.
Asymmetric information between vanilla grower and curer arise in Madagascar as only a relatively small share (about 15-20 % ) of the vanilla beans produced in Madagascar is cured by vanilla growers themselves, the major proportion ( about 60-65 % ) is cured by the packers /curers.
Vanilla produced in Madagascar is called Bourbon vanilla. This is in great demand and fetches the highest price in international market. Madagascar used to meet 70% of the world supply during the 1970' s. Now the position has changes and the Mada beasn are only next to Indonesia in its production volume. Area under the cultivation is about 25,000 Ha and the production is estimated to be about 1650 MT
Indonesia was an insignificant producer with about 24 MT production during late 1940s. Later it increased production and became the worlds second largest producer during 1980's. Production went up in subsequent years and it stands as number one in prodction figures. Now it has vanilla in an area of 9689 ha with a production of 2102 MT. Java and Bali islands are the major producing areas of Indonesia.
COMOROS AND REUNION :
Other countries which produce bourbon vanilla are comoros and Reunion. The amount of production in Comoros is about 150 -200 MT and Reunion about 15-20 MT.
Pacific islands and Tahiti :
Tahiti islands in French Polynesia, which is another producer has renewed efforts to increase production to 150-200 Mt but fallen to lower levels later. Vanilla tahitensis grwon in Tahiti islands has a fruity flavour.
Latin American Countries :
Jamaica, Gaudelope and Mexico are now small producers of vanilla. Mexico, the home of vanilla now produces about 300 tonnes annually.
Uganda and Tonga:
Uganda started commercial vanilla production in 1930's. During 1960's ther was considerable planting and production was about 50 tonnes. Of late vanilla culitvation is being revived. Tonga shoed ups and down in vanilla production from 1988. Presently Tonga produces about 50 tonnes of vanilla annually.
The center of maximum world production of vanilla is getting shifted in course of time. From the native mexico it got shifted to sub sahran africa during 1950's and from ther to Countries in the pacific basin during the late nineties. The 2000's have brought in new entrants and new players including India, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other tropical countries including Papua Newguinea (PNG) . Major decisive factors is a god understanding and practices, areas, weather and post processing technolgical advances into vanilla by products to make vanilla available to more cutomers is the way vanilla markets will mature.
VANILLA STORIES SERIES
In the ensuing pages you will find cultivation information from our grower farms located in the following places of vanilla cultivation which becomes our supply backbones.
The cultivation and processing in vanilla happens in these farms. Shown are Farms located in (1) Niligiris Biosphere- Ooty,coonoor , silent valley area-Mannarkad, Gudalur areas (2) Shimoga in Karnataka known as shimoga vanilla farms (3) Trivandrum orchid belts , Trichur and palakkad sectors (4) Pollachi and mettupalayam of coimbatore districts.
In each segment the cultivation methods and micro climate are different and we will see a variety of techniques used for cultivation.
Also shown here are our grower farms located in different countries like Myanmar, Malaysia and Mauritius, Madagascar etc.
SEE OUR VANILLA PAGES
VANILLA LINKS IN OUR WEBSITE
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