Recently Business for Development explored vanilla as a potential crop for farmers in PNG. It turns out vanilla is not that boring at all.

Vanilla is a high value, easily transportable, nonperishable crop capable of growing well PNG. Sounds great for a project set in a remote region.

However, growing vanilla requires a high level of diligence throughout the entire process and is very labour intensive. Plants take 3-5 years to flower and hand pollination is necessary.

Each flower only opens for a few hours so growers must check crops daily to pollinate or beans will not grow. Growers need to check plants every day during harvest (3-4 weeks) to pick beans at the optimum time. Curing of beans adds the most value so growers should look to do this to achieve the best return. This takes an additional 4-6 months and approximately six kilograms of green beans (freshly harvested) produces one kilogram of cured vanilla beans.  

Learn more about vanilla from this infographic