Vanilla is an orchid vine, originally from Central America, and the only one of over 25,000 orchid species to produce an edible fruit. It grows in tropical latitudes stretching to approximately 23º either side of the equator. The vine needs to entwine a host tree.
To flourish and produce truly aromatic beans vanilla needs a leafy tropical environment plenty of dappled sunlight, buckets of rain, rich loamy soil. UVAN limited, last year embarked on a country wide vanilla replanting campaign that is expected to raise production by 1000tonnes of cured beans in 2015.
Types of Vanilla Beans
- Extract qualities
- Split beans
- Broken beans
- Short beans
- Gourmet qualities
- Long black moist beans
They can be got from
- Uganda Crop Industries Limited Located on Parliament Avenue Kampala, Uganda
- Esco Uganda Limited located on Waampewo Avenue Kampala, Uganda
- Buiga Farm Industries Ltd located on Diamond Trust Building Kampala, Uganda
- Landways Agencies Ltd Kampala ,Uganda
Description of Ugandan Vanilla
Vanilla beans, long slender pods, are picked from vines and cured over a period of three to six months, using the traditional method of sun drying and sweating in wooden casks where pods are set in the sun during the day and covered with blankets for the night. This allows the flavours to develop slowly and fully. Of the more than 250 compounds within the vanilla pod, vanillin is the most significant; it produces the Vanilla aroma and flavour and imbues the pod with a distinctive flavour profile.
Ugandan Vanilla contains a notably high Vanillin content of around 2% up to 3.2% is found in the highest Ugandan grades whereas Madagascan vanilla, currently the most well reputed and recognised origin generally averages about 1.8%. The most common Vanilla products in the retail market are Beans and extract; pulp, paste and powder are also available for food manufacturing.
Ugandan vanilla beans have only become readily available within the past four to five years, they are now considered among the top three or four varieties, according to an expert. In addition to producing high quality beans and using time-honoured production and curing methods, Uganda delivers premium quality beans consistently and in even supply. Up to 40% of Uganda’s beans are of gourmet quality, that is, whole bean grade A. Uganda has recently established some worldwide recognition, and confidence in its Vanilla beans growing.
Production of Vanilla in Uganda
Uganda is capable of producing as much as the market needs because it’s blessed with the best weather compared to its competitors. Its quality is the best; so it only needs the volumes to move the market to its side. The challenge to improving the volume of production is the depressed prices on the international market. Uganda has the best Vanilla and yet attracts lower price compared to Madagascar.The excellent quality has been attributed to little buying pressure during the green campaigns that saw the Beans left on the Vines until maturity.
Extreme pricing brought on by the crisis forced many to abandon natural vanilla and switch to synthetic formulations. However, when the crisis abated, most buyers never switched back.
Facts about Ugandan Vanilla
- Ugandan vanilla is a superior quality product and is naturally produced. The excellent climatic conditions add the nice flavour with no extra additives.
- Vanilla is harvested twice a year due to the 2 annual dry seasons.
- Flowering and pollination for the major season is between September and October with the harvesting occurring in June and July the following year minor season occurs between May and June for harvests in January and February the following year.
- Vanilla Moon is processed by use of Traditional curing techniques which ensure that the vanilla is of a high quality, with high Vanillin content, better colour, Sheen and Moisture content.
Districts that grow Vanilla
- Mukono Districts
- Kayunga Districts
- Mpigi Districts
- Jinja Districts
- Kamuli Districts
- Bundibugyo Districts
- Luwero Districts
- Kasese Districts