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The Mystery of Vanilla in India

 

Annamalai Muthiah

Dubare Estate

Pollibetta, Coorg, Karnataka, India

Annamalai@chettinad.org

 

 

Where is the Vanilla in India, a land that is considered ‘God’s own country’ for plantation? Where is the Vanilla in the country where finest pepper vines, best coffee plants, and good yielding rubber trees were once sacrificed for it? Where is the Vanilla in the conversations of world-renowned agriculturists, scientists and cultivars? Is the undoing of Vanilla in India that of nature or is it that of mankind? Would India be the land that brings Bloom in Gloom to the world of Vanilla? Is it for nature to recreate or is it for us to restore? There is a way forward, and that is together!

 

Annamalia Muthiah manages Dubare, the family plantation in Coorg. Located on the western ghats in about the middle of southern India, Dubare is considered to be ideally suited for plantation crops.

Besides coffee and pepper which were the traditional crops, Mr Muthiah has undertaken to extensively grow ginger, vanilla and avocado.

He has just moved the cultivation of vanilla from open fields and under shade net into a polly house. His determination comes from the fact Coorg at one time grew some of the finest vanilla in the world and he believes that it would be possible to bring back the plantation of vanilla on a large scale in India.

Prior to farming (which was not too long ago), Mr Muthiah had startups in the fields of education and technology. He is an engineer with the master's degree in computer science from University of Colorado, Boulder and has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University. His mindset is shaped through many years’ experience he's had in Silicon Valley and in India and from interests and travel across the world.