The vanilla's meeting

Monday 15 November 1993

High prices and illegal shipments of inferior quality have badly affected Madagascar's status as premier vanilla producer.

-- MADAGASCAR has been steadily losing its market share for vanilla, one of its major export commodities. In the early 1970s, 70 per cent of the vanilla consumed worldwide came from Madagascar. This has declined now to 50 per cent as high prices and illicit shipments of poor quality vanilla are prompting consumers to look for cheaper alternative sources.

One kg of vanilla fetches more than $70, though the official procurement price is a mere $1.04 per kg. Though the government has sought to control every aspect of vanilla production, illicit vanilla exports have continued to increase.

The high price of Madagascar's vanilla has resulted in increasing partial substitution of other natural aromas for vanilla and the shift to cheaper synthetic vanillin flavouring. Besides, vanilla production is on the rise in Indonesia and Uganda.

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