Dutch horticultural company Koppert Cress has succeeded in growing vanilla in greenhouses and is bringing it onto the market, targeting mainly the hospitality industry.
Vanilla is a notoriously difficult plant to grow and the company started experimenting some eight years ago.
‘It is easily attacked by fungi and we have had to throw away a lot,’ the company’s innovation manager Bart van Meeus told the Volkskrant.
Outdoor vanilla crops are more likely to be damaged by adverse weather conditions such as typhoons and theft is also a problem, Koppert Cress founder Rob Baan said.
‘Growing vanilla in Dutch greenhouses allows you to imitate the ideal growing climate all year round without the problems brought by the weather and without pesticides or other chemical agents,’ he said.
Vanilla is a slow-growing plant and it takes three years to produce pods. It is one of the most expensive spices in the world, with a kilo a minimum of €250 and some 90% comes from the island of Madagascar.
In 2019, scientists at Wageningen University abandoned their efforts to growing vanilla commercially.
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