By Oscar Nkala:
The Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) says it expects annual vanilla exports to rise to 100 tonnes this year, up from 75 tonnes in 2017.
The anticipated increase in production is meant to capitalise on increasingly lucrative vanilla prices in the international fresh produce market.
Due to demand that outstrips supply by far, vanilla prices in the European market have risen from US$300 per kilogramme at the end of 2017 to US$500 per kilogramme presently.
According to the board, Ugandan vanilla exports dwindled following the 2014 global fall of commodity prices, which forced farmers to abandon the crop.
However, rising vanilla prices have added a new headache for Ugandan farmers who have to incur additional costs in hiring security guards to prevent thieves from stealing immature crops for sale.