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Vanilla Farming Information

vanilla farming

Vanilla Farming – Introduction

Vanilla is one of the favorite flavors of the world. It is also very expensive. After saffron, it comes second in terms of price. It is very obvious because vanilla has such a huge demand in the local and international market. Therefore, there is huge competition among the vanilla cultivators. In such a time, it is important that good quality vanilla must be cultivated. If the cultivation is done properly, only then the proper price can be obtained.

The vanilla is obtained from the orchid flower. The orchid species which mainly belongs to Mexico gives the vanilla. The unique flavor of vanilla is what makes it so popular. It is mainly used as a flavoring agent in chocolates, ice creams, candies and other confectionaries. It is used in cooking too. The demand for vanilla is quite high. Therefore, a very good price can be obtained for the harvest. There are certain farming techniques which must be followed during cultivation of the vanilla. Good quality vanilla must be cultivated. For that, proper nutrition, irrigation, and other factors must be considered. There are also many post-harvest techniques which also have to be maintained during cultivation of vanilla.

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Scientific Name of Vanilla: Vanilla planifolia

vanilla farming

Top Countries Producing Vanilla In The World

Rank Country Tons of Vanilla Produced
1 Indonesia 3,200
2 Madagascar 3,100
3 Mexico 463
4 Papua New Guinea 433
5 China 335

Name Of Vanilla In Other Languages

Language Ways to say vanilla
Armenian վանիլ
Azerbaijani vanil
Bengali ভ্যানিলা
Chinese Simplified 香草(xiāngcǎo)
Chinese Traditional 香草(xiāngcǎo)
Georgian vanilla
Gujarati વેનીલા
Hindi वनीला
Hmong vanilla
Japanese バニラ
Kannada ವೆನಿಲ್ಲಾ
Kazakh ваниль
Khmer vanilla
Korean 바닐라(banilla)
Lao vanilla
Malayalam വാനില
Marathi या वनस्पतीसाठी केलेला अर्क
Mongolian ваниль
Myanmar (Burmese) vanilla
Nepali भनिलाको
Sinhala වැනිලා
Tajik Бахром
Tamil வெண்ணிலா
Telugu వనిల్లా
Thai วนิลา
Urdu ونیلا
Uzbek vanil
Vietnamese vanilla

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Different Varieties Of Vanilla For Cultivation

  • Mexican

    The Mexican vanilla beans taste sweet and have a creamy texture. The hint of a bit of spicy flavor also adds uniqueness to the taste. This kind of vanilla is almost used in all purposes from spicy to sweet dishes.

  • Tahitian

    Tahitian vanilla beans have a fruity type of flavor. Because of this flavor, it goes well for desserts and other confectionaries. The Tahitian vanilla beans are plump in nature. They can also be put in drinks and sweet dishes also. This is a unique variety of vanilla beans.

  • Madagascar Bourbon

    Just like the name, the Madagascar vanilla beans come from Madagascar. These vanilla beans have a sweet taste and a creamy flavor. Because of this flavor, it is used in sweet dishes.

  • Indonesian

    The vanilla flavor of Indonesia is quite different and unique. The woody and smoky flavor of this vanilla and its aroma is its specialty. This flavor is mostly used in desserts and cookies.

Cultivation Of Vanilla

The vanilla cultivation must be done carefully. The beans must be cultivated properly. The demand for good quality beans is quite high. Therefore it is very important to maintain the quality of the beans. For that, proper nutrition, land management, and crop management must be done properly.

Soil Conditions For The Vanilla Farming

The vanilla plants can be grown in any type of soil. The best soil to cultivate the vanilla is laterites or sandy loam. The soil must not be too heavy or too light. The ph of the soil must be close to neutral. Too low or too high ph might be detrimental to the growth of vanilla plants. Too acidic or basic soils must not be used for the cultivation of vanilla. The soil must be well aerated and well drained. The soil must have a very good content of organic matter in it. A soil with good organic matter will produce good quality beans.

Climatic Conditions For Vanilla Farming

The climate must be pleasant for vanilla cultivation. The annual rainfall which is required for the cultivation is 150-300cm.  It should be cultivated on proper altitudes. Too much heat or too much cold is not good for growing the vanilla cultivation. Frost conditions are not good for the growing period of growth of the vanilla plants. A warm climate and lots of rainfall are good for farming vanilla cultivation.

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Land Preparation For Vanilla Farming

The land must be selected properly for the cultivation of vanilla. A proper land must be selected for the cultivation. After that, all the weeds must be removed. The waste matter and all the other plants must be removed from the land. The ploughing must be done properly. Ploughing must be done to make the soil more smooth and rich. The ploughing can be done with tractors and bullock carts too. The proper drainage channels must be made in the field. The drainage channels must be made so that the excess water can be drained out of the field. Right after ploughing proper quantities of well-decomposed farmyard manure must be mixed with the soil.

Propagation Methods For Vanilla Farming

The propagation for vanilla is mostly through cuttings or by tissue culture. The plants for cuttings need to be grown in shade. The plants need to be grown in proper conditions as well. The best cuttings must be selected with 18-24 cuttings. The cuttings which have 5-6 internodes must not be used. They also must not be shorter than 60cm in length. The cuttings must be planted in a place where there is shade as well as plenty of sunshine as well. The cuttings must be handled very carefully.

When they are suitable for plating, they must be planted in the main field. While planting, initial irrigation must be given. The soil around the cuttings must be pressed properly. The vanilla plant is a vine. So, it needs support to climb and grow. Many plants can be planted in the main field to support the vanilla vines. The support plants must be planted prior to planting of the vanilla.

Planting Season And Spacing In Vanilla Farming

The best time to plant vanilla is in August- September. It is the time when the weather is neither too hot nor too dry. The planting density of vanilla is 1500-2000 trees per hectare. The usual spacing which is applied in the vanilla farm is 3metres*2metres.

vanilla farming

Irrigation Methods For Vanilla Farming

The first irrigation must be given at the time of planting. After that, the irrigation must be given based on the moisture level of the soil. In times of rainfall, there is no need to water the plants frequently. If there is irregular rainfall pattern, watering must be done. In case of dry and humid weather, proper and frequent watering must be done. To save water, drip or sprinkler irrigation can be given. For irrigation, saline water must not be used. In case of heavy rainfall, the excess water must be drained away from the field. For that, drainage channels must be made in the field.

Manure And Fertiliser Application For Vanilla Farming

The first application of biofertilizers must be made at the time of land preparation. The macronutrients must be applied in the right proportions for vanilla cultivation. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus must be applied in proper proportions. The micronutrients also must be applied in proper quantities. It must be done so that there is no deficiency in micronutrients. After application of fertilizers, irrigation must be given. Too much application of fertilizers is not good for the soil. It might make the soil dry and barren. To avoid such conditions, a soil test must be done. Based on the soil test, fertilizers must be applied. Organic fertilizers and manure must also be applied along with the chemical fertilizers. Biofertilisers must be applied properly so that fungus attack can be avoided.

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Flowering Process Of Vanilla Farming

The flowering in the vanilla vines starts from the second or the third year. For fruit set, artificial pollination has to be done. The artificial pollination is very easy to do and can be done by almost anyone. There are almost 85- 100 percent of success in pollination. The best time to pollinate the vanilla plants is from 6am-1am. There must be 10-12 inflorescences in each vine. More than that, the extra ones must be nipped off. This will promote the development of the pods. The pods usually take about six weeks to gain maturity.

Intercultural Operations For Vanilla Farming

Intercultural operations for the cultivation of vanilla include removal of weeds. The weeds must be removed so that they do not compete with the main plants for nutrition. For removal of the weeds, chemicals can be used. Herbicides can be used for the killing of the weeds. Manual methods might also be used. A combination of both the methods can also be used.

For training of the vines, support plants must also be used. The vines must grow upwards till 1.50m. After they grow up to that height, they must grow horizontally, and they must be coiled around the support plant. This operation helps to grow more flowers on the vine.

Mulching is also an important activity. Mulching prevents the soil from getting dry. It also maintains the moisture content of the soil. The mulching may be done with grasses and leguminous plants. Mulching is also done so that less water is required for irrigation. Pruning also must be done. Proper pruning must be done so that the growth of the vines is proper.

Yield Of Vanilla

With proper crop management, a yield of 500gms of green beans per year can be expected. The yield is based on one plant. The yield depends upon the variety which is used and also depends on the crop management techniques.

Harvesting Vanilla

The vanilla beans are dark green. At that time, they are immature. When they start ripening, the yellow color spreads. At that time, they can be harvested. If the vanilla is left in the plant, it will split open. After splitting, the oil-like substance comes out. This substance dries up, and it is cured to get the vanilla. To cure the vanilla, artificial methods are employed. There are a lot of processes which are employed to cure the vanilla. Each process has its own methods to cure the vanilla. Some of the processes are the Mexican process, Peruvian process, and Guiana process.

Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Vanilla

After proper curing, the vanilla beans must be packed properly and stored properly. The colors of the vanilla beans are made to change, and then they are stored properly. When they are properly dried, they must be stored and sent to the market for selling.

The market for vanilla is huge and is expanding each year. The vanilla is used in huge quantities in the confectionary and dessert market. It is also used in huge quantities in the soft drinks also. Sometimes, the immature green beans are sold as exports. Then they are sold to the foreign countries, and they extract the vanillin.

Benefits of Vanilla

  • There is vanillin, a compound in vanilla. That compound helps to control the level of the cholesterol in the body. It is good for the heart too.
  • Vanilla contains lots of antioxidants. Those antioxidants eliminate free radicals out of the body and keep the body free of toxins.
  • Vanilla is also used in aromatherapy. The oil reduces anxiety and also provides relief from stress.
  • Vanilla helps indigestion. It helps to digest the food properly and also prevents many stomach problems.

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Vanilla Farming – Conclusion

The vanilla is one of the most popular flavors of the world. The market for vanilla is hugely successful. At such a time, the cultivation of vanilla can help to make huge profits. The cultivation process must be proper. The demand for high-quality beans is extremely huge. Therefore care must be taken to improve the quality of the vanilla beans. The proper soil, nutrition, and irrigation must be provided. These factors are important for the improvement of the quality of the beans.