A Song of Vanilla Ice and Fire

“The soaring price of vanilla has been accompanied by an opportunistic crime wave: raiders rip out whole vines to transplant them elsewhere and armed robbers hold up warehouses. Estimates vary but upwards of 15% of the crop is stolen each year. Like vanilla farmers all over Madagascar, Raminisoa’s father and brothers now patrol their fields at night. They band together with neighbours and hired guards, and brandish machetes. Bush justice can be brutal. There are stories of beatings, even decapitations.” The Economist: Vanilla Fever: How did hunger for the humble vanilla pod lead to greed, crime and riches?

+ Video: Why is Vanilla So Expensive?

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