The Ndali Estate is a 1000 acre farm set in volcanic soil in the tropics of Western Uganda. The farm specialise in the organic, Fairtrade growing and curing of fine vanilla, the best of which is sold as "Ndali" vanilla.
Vanilla grows best in small-scale agro-forestry, it takes considerable time and care to produce the beans. Vanilla flowers the world-over are pollinated by hand to ensure a good crop since the very specific pollinating insects are not numerous enough to ensure this. So, the farmers must be on-hand within 8 hours of the flower opening to perform the delicate operation. After pollination, the beans then take 9 to 11 months to be ready for harvest at which point they are still green. Continue reading