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History & Founding

Ugandan vanilla growers. Ugandan vanilla exporters. Vanilla extract manufacturers the world over. Whoever encounters this precious bean knows there’s something special about Ugandan vanilla.

Crafted Over Decades

You could catch the bold vanilla scent floating through the Ugandan countryside since the 1920s when it became widely grown on a commercial scale. With two harvests a year, growers quickly refined their abilities to produce beans of the highest quality. Big, creamy flavors with cacao and fruit form the perfect base for applications overflowing with the world’s most popular flavor.

Ugandan Vanilla Exporters

The Association of Vanilla Exporters of Uganda Limited (VANEX) supports vanilla production, processing, and trade while spreading the word about Ugandan vanilla. Since its founding in 2003, the nonprofit organization has shared knowledge across the value chain and collaborates with local and international partner organizations.

VANEX works with farmers, processors, and government to ensure the sustainable production and marketing of high-quality Ugandan vanilla. Each season, VANEX and its partners play a key role supporting the government to determine and declare dates governing the start and end of the harvest. Harvests occur in January and July, but the specific date changes every year to ensure each season’s beans are picked at peak ripeness. Not a moment sooner. Not a moment later.

Pearl of Africa

Uganda’s nickname comes from its lush landscape gifted by nature, like a rare pearl. Vanilla springs to life in the nutrient-rich soil.

Precise Cultivation and Processing

Growers hand pollinate Vanilla planifolia during a narrow window lasting only a few hours. The same care is taken at every step of the supply chain to nurture Ugandan vanilla.

Expert Support

Processors and farmer associations send agricultural specialists to work with farmers and maximize vanilla quality and productivity.

Bean Processors

When farmers deliver green beans, processors start the painstaking, weekslong curing process. Curing creates vanillin and hundreds of flavor and aroma compounds that make vanilla unique.


VANEX exporters carefully package cured vanilla beans for shipment around the world.

Vanilla Extract Manufacturers

Many of Uganda’s beans are made into vanilla extract. Manufacturers have the important work of preserving vanilla’s delicate flavor notes, which transform final products into consumer must-haves.