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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 Karnataka.


  1. Congenial Agro-climatic conditions.
  2. Vanilla is a very good companion crop in areca and coconut gardens.
  3. 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 plantations.
  4. Well informed farmers about vanilla.
  5. High quality of beans can be produced in the country under natural shade.
  1. Inadequate information on International production, demand and market.
  2. Inadequate post harvest facilities including curing, packing and storage.
  3. High capital investment for procurement and processing.
  4. Inadequate research on key areas like physiology, processing and value addition.
  5. Narrow genetic base of planting material.
  6. Insufficient irrigation system.
  1. Opening up of world trade.
  2. Willingness of government agencies to promote Agro Export.
  3. Increasing global demand for natural food flavours.
  4. Expanding market for organic vanilla.
  5. Marginal increase in area under vanilla in producing countries.
  1. Competition from synthetic substitutes and biotechnological substitutes.
  2. High fluctuations in international market price.
  3. Increased production in traditional producing countries.
  4. Vagaries of Nature.

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