Armed guards look after a pile of vanilla in a Vanilla farmer barn on May 25, 2016 in the Municipality Bemalamatra, 30 kms from Sambava, Madagascar.
According to an interministerial decree, the collecting of the “green vanilla” (Raw vanilla) must begin on the 20th of June 2016. All collecting of vanilla before this date is considered as illegal. Many producers don’t respect this decree and can sell illegaly this raw vanilla about 70 000 Ariary (20 USD) per kilogram. The buyers speculate on this vanilla and can resell it between 300 000 and 600 000 Ariary (93 and 186 USD) to big exporters. The sweet flavours of vanilla are taking on a bitter edge for buyers in Madagascar as prices have almost quadrupled but quality has declined, with experts blaming speculation, money laundering and a poor harvest. Madagascar, producer of 80 percent of the world’s vanilla, has seen the spice’s price jump from about $60 per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) in 2014 to as much as $220 now. In some local supermarkets, vanilla — used in everything from ice cream to cakes — has become so expensive that the pods have been removed from the spice aisle and placed close to the cash registers to deter thieves. / AFP / RIJASOLO (Photo credit should read RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images)