HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Vanilla hot on the Cook Islands Market
On Tuesday Minister of Agriculture Hon Nandi Glassie and Tutai Toru a vanilla grower from Atiu displayed two samples of the mature vanilla harvested and dried ready to be released on the market.
The samples displayed consisted of two zip lock bags yielding 9 mature, Mexican vanilla beans with an estimated retail value of $50 per bag.
Vanilla was introduced to the Cook Islands from Tahiti more than 40 years ago but never developed as a commercial project due to the lack of knowledge in proper cultivation methods. The continuation of growing the vanilla plant took part in Atiu again for non commercial purposes when an interest to revive the growing from local farmers was raised the help of Tahitian marketer was introduced.
The samples of the dried vanilla beans are the first crop of that growing, with more than 100 beans harvested. In the Cook Islands we currently only grow two varieties the Tahitian and Mexican varieties
“Very pleased to see that this is a very healthy variety and it’s already hot on the market,” says Minister Glassie.
On the international market there is high demand for vanilla advises Minister Glassie particularly in the US, Hawaii and Australia. The largest producers are Madagascar, who grow mainly the Mexican variety followed by Tahiti who supply the French market.
Because of low vanilla supply in Tahiti, market leaders are looking to the Southern Cook Islands to sustain numbers with a 300 tonne per month quota and are seen as an incentive to encourage local vanilla growers.
“The purpose of this to encourage our vanilla growers, the regenerated crop in the Cook Islands has very high value, high yield and long term production for a worldwide market. It’s a challenge to us over the next few years in terms of production,” says Glassie.
Vanilla plants grow well in the Southern islands as Northern group islands are sand based and the vanilla which comes from the orchid family thrives best in soil based growing, and is hand pollinated strictly between the hours of 6am and 10am. -Maria Tanner

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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