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Vanilla industry barely surviving

August 15, 2012 7:08 pm

Fiji needs to do more to maximise the potential of its vanilla industry says one of the country’s vanilla exporters.

Spices of Fiji manager, George Hazelman says the industry is barely surviving.

The vanilla industry in Fiji has been around for over a decade now – producing five tonnes in the early 1900’s.

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Hazelman says they export 80 per cent of the vanilla it produces to Australia and New Zealand getting a mere $220,000 a year while the rest is sold at MH’s.

“We are just managing to contain our expenses. We are not making any money. We are just containing our expenses. It’s quite hard to shoulder that social responsibility to getting farmers to plant vanilla. It’s not easy.”

Hazelman says they buy A-grade Vanilla beans at $100 a kg from local farmers but the inconsistency is a drawback.

“We have a base of about 200 farmers growing vanilla but not all of them are consistent. Our biggest problem is people jumping from one crop to another. As soon as prices rice in one crop they jump to that new crop.”

Spices of Fiji is located in Wainadoi also produce nutmegs, cinnamon, curry powder, masala and pepper.

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