Vanilla, Spices &
Vanilla growers in PNG.
is the name given to a genus of orchids that grow in tropical climates and
to the flavor extract obtained from the fruit pods or beans of several
orchid species. The best and most important commercial extract is obtained
from Vanilla fragrans, also known as Vanilla planifolia.
beans produced commercially are pollinated by hand with a wooden needle.
Harvested before they are ripe, the golden-green beans are cured through
alternating exposure to moist and dry heat, a process that produces the
characteristic flavor and aroma. Curing continues for 10 to 20 days, after which
the beans are bundled for drying and development of the full aroma. This curing
and drying process requires four to six months. The resulting bean is wrinkled
and chocolate colored.
flavor and odor of the extract comes partially from a white crystal vanillin,
during the curing process. Vanilla beans, extracts, tinctures
(alcoholic extracts), and resinoid (hydrocarbon solvent extracts) are the
foremost food flavors for ice cream, puddings, cakes, chocolates, baked goods,
syrups, candies, liqueurs, tobacco, and soft drinks. Vanilla tincture is also
used in perfumes.
vanilla, a reddish-brown vanilla bean derived from Vanilla tahitensis, is
cultivated in the South Pacific and is used mostly in the perfume industry.
Vanillon (West Indian or Guadeloupian vanilla), derived from Vanilla pompona,
has a cherry like odor, from heliotropin. It is used to flavor tobacco, soaps,
perfumes, medicines, and liqueurs and is sometimes blended with true vanilla.
vanilla extract, or vanillin, is produced from eugenol (derived from clove-stem
oil) or acid hydrolysis of lignin (wood) and is used as a compound mixed with
is the second-most expensive spice (after saffron) and the spice most subject to
competition from imperfect substitutes (low-cost artificial flavorings). The
aggregate global demand for real vanilla is estimated at 2,000 MTs per year,
primarily for high-quality vanilla flavoring. Between 1965 and 1989, world
consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2 percent. Between 1980 and 1989,
demand expanded rapidly particularly in the United States, where it grew at 7
percent a year in volume. In Europe, the rate of consumption was more modest:
2-3 percent. Highest consumption per capita is found in Denmark (4.57 grams),
the United States (3.85 grams), France (2.54 grams), and Canada (1.00 grams).
Synthetic vanillin accounts for more than 90 percent of the U.S. vanilla
flavoring market and about 50 percent of the French market (the lowest national
share). One ounce of artificially produced vanillin has roughly the same
flavoring power as a gallon of natural vanilla extract. Synthetic vanillin costs
one-hundredth the price of the natural product and not only substitutes for
vanilla but also supplements adulterated vanilla extracts. Despite the strong
competition from synthetic vanilla, a number of factors have strengthened the
demand for vanilla beans during the past decade: increased health awareness and
preference for natural products; escalating consumer demand for processed foods,
which use new flavors and spices; and an explosion in popularity of gourmet ice
creams, which tend to use pure natural flavors exclusively. In major markets the
United States and Europe vanilla is the only spice that benefits from a Standard
of Identity, which helps shield vanilla beans from competition from substitutes.
1991 to 1993, the United States, France, and Germany accounted for 80 percent of
world imports of vanilla beans, the United States absorbing 50-60 percent, and
France and Germany between 10 and 15 percent each (Table 4). These three
countries were also major re-exporters of both vanilla beans and processed
vanilla products. Germany consumed only 30-40 percent of its imported beans, and
its re-exports were by far the most significant, reaching approximately 180-250
MTs per year in the early 1990s. France's annual re-exports were 30-50 percent
of imports (70-120 MTs), and U.S. re-exports were 60-80 MTs annually (4-6
percent of imports).
There is current
growing interest in the production of alternative crops including spice and
other aromatic crops such as chillies, cardamon, pepper, ginger, turmeric
nutmeg, mace, pyrethrum and vanilla. These crops, particularly vanilla
provide the opportunity to expand and diversify the cash crop base of handsome
falling prices of the traditional export tree crops since the late eighties
have given rise to the interest to develop and diversify the cash crop system
in PNG. An estimated 26,000 farmers are producing alternative crops
dominated by vanilla, chillies, and cardamon in various localities in the
Vanilla production currently
has the biggest spice of the market of all the spice or the alternate crops in
the country. The leading provinces are East Sepik, Manus, Madang, Morobe
and East New Britain. Two main varieties are grown in the country,
Vanilla fragrance and Vanilla tahitensis. Good processing at a central
processing unit is essential to secure product quality for overseas markets.
The future of the vanilla industry looks very promising largely due to the
discovery of carcinogenic substances in the substitute artificial vanilla
essence. Returns to land can be very high exceeding K10,000.00 per
hectare for good quality vanilla.
Current statistics indicate
that total acreage in production amounts to 912.52 hectares with 8,952 farmers
capable of producing 364,836 kg of vanilla worth K92.52 million annually at
world market price.
Chilli yields through the 1970s
and until 1982 were of high quality with production averaging over 200 tones
per year. However, production has dropped dramatically since 1981 to
1986 due to a combination of factors such as inefficient marketing services,
poor export quality and loss of product reputation overseas.
Current indications are that
there are 1294 farmers who are involved in cultivating 205.5 hectares and
producing about 419,930 kg of chilli worth K839,000.00 annually at world
market price. Further promotional drive is required to expose the crops
economic potential among the farming community.
Cardamon production expanded
very rapidly in the seventies in response to high prices until the mid
eighties when the prices slumped. Large areas were planted in parts of
the country particularly in Madang and Simbu Provinces as a result of off
shore investment. However, since 1987 production has declined as a
result of declined smallholder interest.
Approximately 205.4 hectares is
currently under production by 663 farmers producing approximately 246,480kg of
cardamon worth K793,440 annually. The crop deserves further promotional
drive to encourage more farmer participation in this industry.
Pepper is a potential alternate
cash crop but its failure is attributed to poor extension services, high
labour requirements coupled with very low prices and poor market access.
Export prices remain constantly low and amount of effort needed to cultivate
pepper has not changed. Over the years prior to and after the
country's independence. The industry has remained stagnant and dormant
due to lack of information on the part of the Government.
Ginger is produced in all area
so the country. Varieties vary from those that are grown at the high
altitude to those that are grown at the low altitude. Though it has
potential as an alternate export crop current production is for local
consumption and domestic markets only. Production figures are sketchy at
Turmeric is grown in East New
Britain for export. It is used mainly as a food colorant in sauces and
curry powder. Its distinct aroma and flavour mean that is also a spice
crop. Under irrigation, yields of 20,000 to 35,000 kg per hectare have
been possible. It has been reported that turmeric grown at higher
altitude have better quality and yield. If PNG is going to make an
inroads to the market, turmeric exporters will have to concentrate very
heavily on quality and price competitiveness.
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg and Mace are produced
from the Nutmeg tree. Mace usually amounts to about quarter to an eight
of the weight of the nutmeg. Over supply at the world market has
resulted in price falls from US$5,600.00 per tonne of nutmeg in 1987 to US$
1,089.00 per tonne in 1992. Milne Bay and New Ireland Provinces are
suitable areas for gradual expansion of the industry. Superior trees are
multiplied by marcoting, and trials with grafting are in progress at NARI,
Pyrethrum is the oldest
established alternative cash crop in the country but export earnings have
never exceeded K1 million. Production has become erratic in recent years
and has decline substantially since 1986. The Kagamuga factory processes
pyrethrum flowers and exports them as crude oleoresin pyrethrum extract to
overseas refiners. The factory was operating below its capacity due to
shortage of supply. A dried flower throughput of 420 tonnes is required
annually to keep the factory in operation. A need to revive this dormant
industry is of utmost importance if there is to be an inroad in the industry.
General Policies for all
SpicesTo promote suitable spice crops
development in PNG to feed the local as well as the export markets, thus
providing other viable alternatives to the main tree crop industries that are
now facing lower prices year in year out.
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