Cyclone hits vanilla growing regions in Madagascar

by Jeff Gelski
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The vanilla could be processed and sold, but the quality would be poor.

PASO  ROBLES, CALIF. – The cyclone Enawo on March 7 struck a significant portion of the vanilla crop in Madagascar, the world’s leading producer, according to a March 8 market report from Cook Flavoring Co., Paso Robles. U.S. prices for premium quality Madagascar vanilla, at about $500 per kilogram before the cyclone, now may go over $600 per kilogram, the report said.

“We expect prices to soar worldwide as a result of the cyclone,” the report said.

Two of the largest vanilla-producing areas were hit hard. Cook Flavoring Co. received preliminary reports that 90% to 100% of the crop in Antalaha was destroyed and 80% of the crop in Sambava was destroyed.

The situation in Madagascar could lead to “hurricane vanilla,” according to the report. Vanilla beans were on the vine ripening when the cyclone struck. Such vanilla could be processed and sold, but the quality would be poor.

Cyclone Enawo
Cyclone Enawo struck northeastern Madagascar on March 7.

“It’s equivalent to harvesting California wine grapes in May instead of September,” the report said.

The report may be found here.

Cyclone Enawo struck northeastern Madagascar on March 7 while traveling at 200 to 300 kilometers per hour, according to a March 9 report from Madagascar’s National Office for Disaster Risk and Management (B.N.G.R.C.). The Antalaha port was inaccessible. More than half of the city’s homes were destroyed.

The cyclone also flooded other towns and cities, according to the B.N.G.R.C. Buildings such as houses, schools and hospitals were destroyed. Thousands of people were displaced. Power outages were widespread in affected areas.
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