Niue Vanilla Hurt By Poor Environment, Labor Shortage

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Despite high interest, growers unable to meet demands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 28, 2013) – Vanilla growers in Niue say poor soil conditions and a labour shortage are hampering efforts to develop the industry.

There is high interest in vanilla products from Niue with growers saying they cannot produce enough beans to satisfy the demand.

Nonga Bray produces vanilla that is sold in Australia and Austria.

She says vanilla growers in Niue have faced many challenges including Cyclone Heta which devastated crops in 2004 and a drought last year.

"Well I think I’ve only got about 20 percent for this year. I lost the crop that I should be picking and drying for this year. I lost that last year, lost a whole lot. So it’s going to take another two years before they come back again."

Nonga Bray says vanilla growing is labour intensive and says it is hard finding people willing to get involved with it.

The Niue Chamber of Commerce says it is working with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to develop a subsidised workers scheme and other ways to support the sector.

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