Vanilla market sees a little better news

by Jeff Gelski
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Vanilla bean pods
Vanilla quality and volume should be better than first expected after Cyclone Enawo hit growing regions in March.
 

POINTE-CLAIRE, QUE. — A preliminary estimate has the 2017 vanilla crop in Madagascar at 1,300 to 1,500 tonnes, another small crop, but the quality and volume should be better than first expected after Cyclone Enawo hit growing regions on March 7. Probably less than 20% of the crop is “cyclone vanilla,” meaning green beans blown off the vines three to four months before maturity, according to an Aug. 11 report from Aust & Hachmann, a vanilla supplier based in Pointe-Claire.

The report may be found here.

Initial fears were the cyclone might affect 30% to 40% of the crop. A majority of the world’s vanilla is grown in Madagascar. Crops there in years past have gone over 2,000 tonnes although the 2016 crop was about 1,200 tonnes. The 2017 harvest began about two months ago, according to Aust & Hachmann.

Vanilla crop
A more mature vanilla crop in Madagascar in 2017 in theory should translate into better quality and better yields.
 

“Pricing has been stable since the start of the campaign,” the report said. “Should it remain that way we can expect pricing in the same range as witnessed just prior to the cyclone. However, we caution that it is still very early in the campaign, and vanilla pricing is by no means established.”

Vanilla was trading at about $500 per kilogram before the cyclone hit.

A more mature crop in Madagascar in 2017 in theory should translate into better quality and better yields, according to the report. An expected increase in vanilla bean production in other countries has not yet materialized and may not have a significant impact on the market until 2018.

“Therefore, what transpires in Madagascar this season will determine the trajectory of the global vanilla trade, which we will analyze in greater detail later in the year,” the report said. 
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