Karnataka State appears to have a history of vanilla
cultivation. It is reported that one Mr. Coleman Higgins cultivated
cardamom and vanilla in Heggan Valley, near Sringeri, in
Chickmagalur district in the early 1900’s. A recent survey shows
that Karnataka State is presently having the largest area under
vanilla cultivation in India. There are a number of growers now in
Dakshina Kannada district who have taken interest in vanilla
cultivation findings its profitability. Cultivation has been
spreading to the neighbouring districts. The growers in Karnataka
especially from Malnad districts formed an association called Indian
Spice Associates, at Puttur during 1988-89 for exchanging the
know-how on cultivation and processing, for production of planting
materials and for protecting their interest in vanilla. Vanilla
Development Trust – a body of vanilla growers sponsored by the
Syndicate Agriculture foundation, Hiriadka, has come in to existence
during 1994-95. The Trust has a present membership of 408 spread
over seven districts of Karnataka. It has also membership from Goa,
Kerala and Maharashtra States. The Trust has distributed about 1.25
lakh plants to its members for cultivation. The Trust has been
providing its members services like Technical Know-how for
cultivation, supply of plant material, training in pollination and
curing and assisting the growers in finding suitable market. Many
more growers’ associations/ self help groups have come in to being
in recent years.
Vanilla is an orchid plant, which is almost
a fully export oriented crop. Faced with falling prices for
agricultural commodities, farmers in the State are looking to new
crops, which are highly profitable. Vanilla has emerged as an
important crop in coastal and Malnad districts and South Interior
- Congenial Agro-climatic conditions.
- Vanilla is a very good companion crop in areca and coconut
- Arecanut and coconut growers are eager to take up vanilla as
an intercrop. There are 4 lakh ha of coconut and 1.28 lakh ha of
arecanut gardens, which can easily be converted into vanilla
- Well informed farmers about vanilla.
- High quality of beans can be produced in the country under
- Inadequate information on International production, demand and
- Inadequate post harvest facilities including curing, packing
- High capital investment for procurement and processing.
- Inadequate research on key areas like physiology, processing
and value addition.
- Narrow genetic base of planting material.
- Insufficient irrigation system.
- Opening up of world trade.
- Willingness of government agencies to promote Agro Export.
- Increasing global demand for natural food flavours.
- Expanding market for organic vanilla.
- Marginal increase in area under vanilla in producing
- Competition from synthetic substitutes and biotechnological
- High fluctuations in international market price.
- Increased production in traditional producing countries.
- Vagaries of Nature.