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Motti Sharon, Argos, and Shay Lhermann, Top Greenhouses

Israel: Taking away the hurdles for growers to start indoor vanilla orchid cultivation

“Growing vanilla is more complex than growing ornamental orchids, yet the demand for vanilla is increasing and it is a profitable crop for growers,” explain Motti Sharon from Argos and Shay Lhermann from Top Greenhouses. That is why the two have been working together closely to develop a greenhouse project that is suitable for growing vanilla. “There are some major challenges when it comes to growing vanilla and we are offering the solutions to growers from A to Z.”

Motti Sharon in one of the vanilla greenhouses in Israel  

Growing vanilla in new countries
Sharon explains that the demand for vanilla has been rising over the last few years. “This is mainly because the food industry was forced to stop using chemical vanilla and only use regular vanilla, which has led to the product becoming more expensive, as vanilla is also really sensitive to the climate. Last year, for example, extreme weather conditions led to a big quantity of vanilla not being supplied. Conventionally, there is no stabilized production and the producer cannot ensure that they can provide the vanilla on time.” Lhermann adds that this is why their experts have built a protocol to grow vanilla the right way in a greenhouse, where the climate is controlled and the yield is increased. “This has allowed us to consider not only the traditional vanilla growing countries, but we are now also negotiating this project in other countries. We have already been requested for vanilla greenhouses in Israel, Vietnam (already active), Papua New Guinea, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil.”

“Obtaining genetic material is challenging”
Lhermann explains that, at the moment, it is difficult to get the genetic material for vanilla. “It doesn’t matter whether it is tissue culture or cuttings, there is an overall phytosanitary issue that is challenging for growers. Countries are afraid of getting diseases, so access to vanilla material is very limited around the world. Therefore, if a new country wants to start producing vanilla, this is a major hurdle.” Yet Lhermann and Sharon’s aim is to take away this hurdle in the near future. “We want to start up tissue culture labs in countries that are new to vanilla cultivation, such as Brazil. Then, there will be virus-free tissue culture available in the country of destination. This will also be more cost-efficient, as there will be no more need for shipping the tissue culture over.”

Tissue culture lab in South East Asia  

Helping growers succeed
“Many growers see the demand and profits concerning vanilla cultivation and want to start their own vanilla cultivation. Yet many of the newcomers don’t properly know what they are doing. Growing vanilla is more complex than growing ornamental orchids, and we have the expertise to help them. Therefore, we do not only supply growers with the greenhouse and the technology, but also the knowledge and assistance that is necessary,” they add.

For more information:
Argos (Agri Projects) Ltd.
Motti Sharon
[email protected]

Top Greenhouses
Shay Lhermann
[email protected]