>> It led to over a thousand arrests over the past year. And while growers here are adamant the quality of vanilla has improved this year, it will take more to convince buyers. And restore calm to the risky business of growing vanilla.
Madagascar supplies 80% of the world's natural vanilla but a spate of bad weather has devastated crops creating a shortage just as global demand for the natural product soars. Last year, Nasahina had his entire crops stolen by thieves looking to cash-in. A years work lost before harvest.>>
>> This year, he's not taking any chances. He bought this handmade weapons he says to protect himself and his family. With vanilla now a big business, he's not the only farmer to take drastic measures. There's been a wave of killings as
as murdered those they suspected of stealing their lucrative crop.
This year, some are even hiring vigilantes for added protection. The frenzy led some farmers to harvest too early last spring feeling the worst from thieves. That lowered the quality of exports. Some were even sent back to the island. The higher prices drove some customers to switch to cheaper synthetic vanilla.
Meanwhile countries like Indonesia are aiming to kill Madagasca's near monopoly on the sweet crop. Its global market share has already dropped by 30%. At the market this year, farmers are determined to restore Madagascar's lead with help from these forces so called vigilance committees have been set up in some parts to monitor the movement of the spice.