A Look Inside Madanilla Vanilla Cultivation

In a previous post, I tried to explain Why Vanilla Is So Expensive where I drilled down into the issue of low supply vs the growing demand causing the Black Gold Of Madagascar to be the reason for robbery and crime in the vanilla crops.

What is Madanilla doing to mitigate the crisis? We are planting more vanilla plants right now. That’s the good news. The bad news is that vanilla plants take 3-4 years to flower and produce a bean so experts expect prices to keep increasing until more supply is produced and available on the market. Vanilla is typically hand-pollinated in October/November to produce green beans in May/June for collection before they get cured and prepared for months to become fragrant and ready for export.

In this post, we will take a look inside Madanilla vanilla cultivation. We will walk you through the process of planting and growing the vanilla plants.

 

First, the vanilla vine needs to be cleaned up and trimmed. The bottom 20cm will be planted.

Trimming the vanilla vine

 

Then, the vine is planted manually and attached along a tree trunk for support

 

Bourbon Vanilla vine is grown manually without any equipment. The labour-intensive work is replicated tens of thousands of times across acres of crops by the farmers. The lack of financing impacts the production capacity. If you’d like to contribute to the funding of this production and donate to Madanilla, please contact us at [email protected]. Your donation will help in funding the labour cost to maximise the production and supply capacity next year.

Attaching the vanilla vine

 

It will take 3-4 years for this plant to flower and make an orchid. The orchid only flowers for 24 hours. In that short time window, the flower is pollinated by hand in October/November. This is necessary to produce beans 9 months later.

 

By May/June of the following year, the green beans are fully grown and ready to be picked up for curing and preparation.

Green vanilla grape

As explained, Madanilla is re-planting heavily (2017) to increase the supply. We have to be patient with mother nature and we’ll have to wait for 3-4 years to see the result of this work. Until then, we can expect prices to keep increasing. The rule of thumb is this market is, the longer you wait, the more expensive the vanilla will be. So, if you have the opportunity to get a reliable supply, it is best to purchase before prices increase. To buy vanilla, go to the store.

 

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