Uganda Vanilla Project: VINES

Photo by Jjumba Martin for CRS

What Is the VINES Project?

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Vines is a five-year USDA-funded Food for Progress project designed to make Uganda the world’s next leading supplier of high-quality vanilla, increasing exports from 50 Metric Tonnes (MT) to 350MT per year by 2025. Vines is collaborating with both the private and public sector to increase vanilla production, improve quality, strengthen compliance with food safety standards and develop sustainable market linkages with both U.S. and global vanilla companies. The program aims to directly transform the lives of 16,200 farmers, create 15,820 new jobs, and strengthen 836 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and 25 processing companies that support the market system.

Why We're Growing Vanilla

  • The global vanilla market is valued at US$ 31 billion and US$ 2.3 billion is specifically for the bean market. Uganda contributes to 1% of the bean market.
  • The global market is projected to increase 5% in value and volume between now and 2027.
  • Madagascar accounts for 55% of global vanilla exports. Though its beans are highly prized and trusted, its position is being challenged by Uganda, China, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
  • With the right investments, Uganda could improve its vanilla earnings by 81% and generate total export revenues of US$47 million by 2027.

Vanilla production in Uganda

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High vanilla production districts include Rubirizi, Kasese, Bunyangabu, Bundibugyo, Ibanda, Mukono, Buikwe, Kayunga while low production districts include Kabarole, Ntoroko, Kyenjojo, Kagadi, Bushenyi, Sheema, Mbarara, Rakai, Masaka, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Gomba, Mityana, Luwero and Mityana.

Vines will be implemented through two reinforcing strategies to build demand and improve supply:

  1. Targeted supply chain upgrading tailored support to 12+ Ugandan processor/global buyer partnerships committed to making strategic investments that enable them to satisfy demand by strengthening linkages with and expanding services to farmers, enhancing quality, addressing traceability and certification requirements, and improving food safety. These interventions will increase production for 16,200 (30% female) farmers and improve export quality.
  2. Sector-wide interventions Market actor capacity building to unlock systemic constraints to productivity, quality and food safety compliance and strengthen industry coordination, develop a unique Uganda vanilla brand strategy for the international market and accelerate the roll-out of a regulatory framework. These activities will unlock production and exports and impact the livelihoods of 32,856 project participants.

In Kasambya village, Kayunga district, this farmer learning session happens at least once a month at Samuel Kawewo’s home and garden. Photo by Jjumba Martin for CRS.

Who We Work With

Vines has established a network of private sector partners through the Vanilla Innovation and Expansion Fund (VIEF) and post-harvest handling and food safety components. The project aims to connect its partners with international buyers and flavor houses, with a strong focus on ensuring food safety standards are met and traceable supply chains are in place. Through these partnerships, over 11,000 farmers are now in organized supply chains, and trained in vanilla agronomy and agroforestry through private and government sector extension services. This has led to improvements in small holder farmers' competencies, which has partly contributed to improvements in productivity and production of vanilla on the farm leading to an increase in farmer’s gross margin per hectare. At the processor level, quality improvements have continued with export companies (higher vanillin content, no mold etc.) and the volume of exports of cured vanilla has almost quadrupled from 66 MT to 244 MT per annum. Through the VIEF partnerships, the private sector investment leveraged by USDA to support vanilla industry has more than doubled.

Casual workers at Enimiro Products Uganda Limited sort and pack vanilla for export. CRS has supported the company to standardize its food safety and processing processes to meet international standards. Photo by Jjumba Martin for CRS.

CRS has supported Enimiro Products Uganda Limited to set up modern laboratories that carryout moisture testing, testing for vanillin content in the vanilla among other tests. Photo by Jjumba Martin for CRS.

"At one point I got 50 million UGX from selling vanilla (US$13,000) in one season," he says. "It changed my life. I call vanilla gold because it has been my support."

How Vanilla Growing Is Changing Lives in Uganda

Mukasa Jackson

Mukasa Jackson started growing vanilla in 2002. He has seen prices fluctuate but it does not deter him from growing vanilla. He says that even at its lowest price, vanilla still earns more money per kilogram than any other crop. A resident of Namakandwa village in Kayunga district and a proud father and grandfather, Jackson has been able to build a house, educate his children, start up other business and is well known in the village because of vanilla growing. “At one point I got 50 million UGX from selling vanilla (US$13,000) in one season," he says. "It changed my life. I call vanilla gold because it has been my support."



Consortium Members

Funded by:

The USDA Food for Progress Program helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors. Food for Progress has two principal objectives: to improve agricultural productivity and to expand trade of agricultural products. Visit USDA for more information.

Learn about CRS promoting Vanilla farming in Madagascar.

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