Diversifying Country of Origin Is Key to Vanilla Supply Chain Resilience

Uganda offers a reliable supply of sustainable, on-spec vanilla  

KAMPALA, Uganda (May 22, 2024) –The Association of Vanilla Exporters of Uganda Limited  (VANEX) is raising awareness of the need to diversify vanilla sources to avoid supply chain  disruptions, as well as spotlighting the unique benefits of Ugandan vanilla.  

“Government interference, weather events, and other unexpected impacts can all affect  the vanilla supply chain,” VANEX Executive Director Prossy Tumushabe said. “Food and  beverage brands and chefs can stabilize their supply and increase business flexibility by  sourcing vanilla from multiple countries of origin.” 

With quality on par with Madagascar-sourced vanilla, a unique flavor profile, an ideal  growing climate, and a hands-off government, Uganda is a natural option for brands  seeking to diversify their vanilla supply: 

  • The same cultivar as vanilla from Madagascar with no discernable difference in  quality. 
  • High vanillin content of up to 4.5% contributes a bold flavor with notes of cacao and  leather from the nutrient-rich soil. 
  • Sustainably grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, tilling, or slash-and burn practices. 
  • The only place on Earth that experiences two vanilla crops per year — offering a  regular, dependable supply. 
  • Landlocked geography shields crops from destructive weather events. Open trade without government price interference.  

“Diversifying the country of origin for vanilla isn’t top of mind for most brands because they  haven’t experienced a disruption yet, but expanding to multiple sources is a great way to  future-proof supply,” said Craig Nielsen, vice president of sustainability for Nielsen Massey Vanillas, a U.S.-based flavor house. “Uganda isn’t as well-known in the vanilla  industry yet, but it’s emerging as a world-class source.” 

Furthermore, Uganda is positioned to offer vanilla at the volume and specifications  required by customers of all sizes. 

“Uganda exported 250 metric tons of vanilla in 2022 and is positioned to meet increased  demand as the market requires,” said Abubaker Mulindwa, managing director of Natural  Extract Industries, Uganda Ltd. “Plus, Ugandan vanilla is available in a variety of grades  and specifications, including Organic Certified, Fairtrade Certified, Rainforest Alliance  Certified, HACCP Certified, and more.” 

The Ugandan vanilla industry collaborates with organizations around the globe, including  VANEX; the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; Catholic Relief  Services; the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative; and the United States Department of  Agriculture, to enhance vanilla quality and make Uganda a world-class sourcing origin.  

To learn more or connect with importers, exporters, or flavor houses, visit the newly  launched website, VanillaFromUganda.com, sign up for the newsletter, and follow Vanilla  from Uganda on LinkedIn. 

About the Association of Vanilla Exporters of Uganda Limited 

The Association of Vanilla Exporters of Uganda Limited (VANEX) supports vanilla  production, processing, and trade while spreading the word about Ugandan vanilla. Since  its founding in 2003, the nonprofit organization has shared knowledge across the value  chain and collaborates with local and international partner organizations.

Uganda Vanilla Farming – Ripening Vanilla Beans (approaching harvest)
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