Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul India) and the National Dairy Development Board are to acquire a stake in the Kochi-based company Vanilla India Producer Company Limited (Vanilco).

As part of the deal, the companies have agreed a supply contract with Vanilco for vanilla beans worth US$15.5m.

"The biggest order in Vanilco's history, will result in the off-take of the entire stock of cured vanilla beans with the producer company," said Vanilco managing director Paul Jose.

The deal followed discussions involving Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in New Delhi.

As a result, Amul India will completely phase out the use of synthetic vanillin, used for flavouring their ice-creams, within one year.

Vanilco is supplied by around 2,500 farmers in the Kochi area.