Kampala/Johannesburg — Uganda, the world’s fourth-biggest vanilla exporter, is boosting output to benefit from prices for the flavouring that’s more valuable than silver, and has forced growers to hire armed guards to deter thieves. The landlocked East African country will produce about 100 tonnes this year, with potential to double that in future, according to Aust & Hachmann (Canada), the world’s oldest vanilla company. While that’s far below the 1,600 tonnes top-grower Madagascar can produce, extra Ugandan output would diversify global supplies and see farmers of some of the world’s potentially best beans reap as much as $600,000 per tonne, company director David van der Walde said. "Vanilla is an important crop and the government is promoting its quality and boosting security in growing areas," said Opolot Okasai, director of crop resources at Uganda’s agriculture ministry. The Uganda Export Promotion Board says annual vanilla shipments ranged from 0.65 to 75.4 tonnes in the hal...

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