Vanilla Farmers in Maprik, East Sepik Province have raised concerns over the significant drop in vanilla prices in recent months.
They claimed that the only vanilla buyer in the district is controlling the price, to suit their own interests.
According to local vanilla farmers, the price of vanilla has dropped from over K1000 per Kilogram, to K300 per kilogram.
Maprik Town Mayor, Paul Dingu, speaking on behalf of the people, questioned the drop in vanilla prices that is now affecting locals.
“Our rural people depend entirely on vanilla, cocoa and coffee, why is the price going down?” The town mayor said.
However, Maprik MP, John Simon in responding to their call, said there are plans to bring in more buyers, but the people must do their part to produce quality vanilla.
He said, the significant drop in price is also to do with the quality of vanilla.
“You must listen and work together with us, to keep the quality of our beans, and it must have its own trademark, so when they want vanilla beans, they will come to Maprik.” the local MP said.
The member added that some farmers have been harvesting vanilla beans which are not ready for harvest, and that has caused the drop in quality.
He challenged farmers to process vanilla beans accordingly, to maintain quality.
“Do not buy green beans, you will spoil the quality of the beans, stop it.” he said.
He further highlighted plans for a new investor, to provide competition.
He said, the new buyer is willing to pay over 250 US dollars per kilogram of vanilla, which is equivalent to over K800.
However he added that, the vanilla beans must be 15 cm long, with good quality.
“We will give them license, to come and provide competition, they will give us good price, but you must produce high quality beans.” Simon said.
By Rayon Lakingu – EMTV News – Port Moresby