Uganda is the world’s second natural Vanilla producer behind Madagascar. Vanilla earns Uganda over USD 5.5 million annually.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is preparing to introduce an independent law to curb theft of Vanilla and sale of premature vanilla in a move to ensure quality.
The law comes in the wake of sale and high levels of theft of premature vanilla in Buikwe, Mukono, Rubirizi, Masaka, and other vanilla growing districts that have continued to damage Uganda’s reputation in the international markets.
Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja indicated that the Ministry(MAAIF) is already working with the Judiciary and security operatives to increase penalties for the theft and sale of premature Vanilla to deter perpetrators.
“If we introduce the Vanilla law, just like the Coffee act we shall be able to register all farmers and provide them with the right skills and support possible for better yields, we want to increase the current 50 tonnes by 7 times, so as to increase the revenue from the product.” Ssempijja said
“To make the most out of Vanilla as a product, we need to legislate it and control against all malpractice. We need to maintain our international reputation as key players in the vanilla industry, we have to protect our farmers from theft and selling prematurely.” Ssempijja noted
The Minister says that with the help of associated partners such as Catholic Relief Services and Sustainable Vanilla Initiative(SVI) they will be able to ensure that farmers get more competitive and stable prices for their produce owing to the ever flactuating Vanilla prices.
The Ministry(MAAIF) is to follow up on local beverage and food processing companies that are buying premature and stolen vanilla.
SVI indicated that it’s the opportune time for Uganda to introduce stringent laws to improve the quality of the vanilla produce, since International buyers are very keen on quality measures due to the hard economic times of covid-19.
MAAIF indicates that similar measures are to be introduced across all products meant for export and expect to increase Vanilla exports by 2024.
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