Huge untapped potential in Vanilla cultivation
Revenue can surpass other plantation exports, says
MONEY SPINNER: Managing Director, Vanilla Tropical Flowers in
Kotmale, G. P. W. Luxman with a vanilla creeper.
VANILLA CULTIVATION: The huge financial potential in Vanilla
plantations has been underplayed so far. The plant grown in the hill
country has the potential to be Sri Lanka's number one foreign exchange
earner beating the revenue gained from all other plantation crops
Managing Director, Vanilla Tropical Flowers in Kotmale, G. P. W.
Luxman said that he had obtained technical know-how from Italy after
being in that country for over 12 years. He said that if Sri Lanka can
plant 5,000 hectares of vanilla it would yield US dollars 300 million
He said that Vanilla is utilised to manufacture perfumes, food
flavours, chocolate, ice cream, milk, medicine and for several other
uses and the present production is not adequate to meet the present
He said that in addition to the revenue Sri Lanka can earn from
planting Vanilla, the project would also generate over 65,000 direct
Another advantage would be that agriculture waste from Vanilla
creepers supporting trees could be used to produce 5 megawatts of dendro
Vanilla International is already one of the largest exporter of cut
flowers and they have grown nearly 50 acres of Vanilla in Kotmale. He
said that he had forwarded a proposal in this regard to the then
Government three years ago and there had been no response.
"This is why I decided to take the initiative and start this project
on my own," he said.
He said that they have also commenced a farmer outgrower project in
the area providing the villages the technical knowledge, branches and
other assistance. Vanilla creeper when planted would give yields after
two years and thereafter every nine months and the life expectancy of
the tree is over 30 years.
One advantage would be that the tree only needs organic fertilizer.
One tree could produce nearly a kilo of Vanilla, which would be
purchased at around Rs. 1,000.
Research carried out have shown that taste of Vanilla produced in Sri
Lanka is one of the best in the world and this would result in high
returns at the international auctions.
The company will soon import machinery valued at over Rs. 50 million
to do value addition to Vanilla seeds and re-export for higher prices.
He said that there are many tea estates that are running at a loss
and if the Government can loan them, the land and finances he can make
Vanilla as the number one foreign exchange earner from plantation