POOR QUALITY CONTROL HURTS PNG VANILLA GROWERS

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By John Apami

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 26) - Ambunti Dreikikir Member of Parliament Tony Aimo has called on the Spice Industry Board to immediately ban the sale of green beans in all vanilla-growing provinces in order to control the quality of crops.

Mr Aimo, who comes from a major vanilla growing area of the Dreikikir district in East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, said the Spice Board should also appoint vanilla inspectors for these provinces to educate growers on the process of growing, processing and marketing crops.

There is a serious lack of knowledge among buyers and exporters who do not know the difference between low and high-quality vanilla, he said. 

Mr Aimo noted that that East Sepik had earned K77 million (US$23.8 million) in exports revenue last year compared with K34 million (US$10.5 million) the previous year.

He said the negative publicity would contribute to a fall in revenue this year. He blamed the Spice Industry Board and so-called exporters for the drop in prices.

Mr Aimo said the price drop from K700 (US$216) a kilogram to about K400 (US$123) a kg was caused by the uncontrolled sale and export of vanilla beans. He said there must be a control mechanism in place to maintain both price and quality.

The Spice Industry Board should act immediately to halt the decline in the price of vanilla. 

The Spice Industry Board could not be reached at the weekend for comment.

Mr Aimo said there is a wrong perception that the vanilla growers and smallholder exporters in the province were contributing to the recent downfall in prices. 

He said the problem wasn’t with the small growers in the village. Many non-growers who were involved in exporting vanilla beans are not properly trained in vanilla growing and management, and processing and quality control. 

Speaking at his Parliament office in Port Moresby on Friday, Mr Aimo said the PNG’s vanilla industry would be destroyed unless the Spice Board took immediate measurers. 

April 27, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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