Overseas demand for locally-produced coffee expected to rise in 2018

Prospects are looking good for the Myanmar coffee industry, with coffee prices kicking off the New Year on a high level and domestic market conditions looking rather positive, coffee plantation workers said.

The market price for ripe coffee cherries harvested in December is now K800-K900 per viss (1.6kg), which is at the higher end of last year’s price range, said U Win Aung Kyaw, vice chair of the Myanmar Coffee Association. “The condition of the market is looking great.”

He added that coffee prices are expected to continue rising this year. “In the Ywar Ngan region, there are no more leftover coffee cherries from last year. Currently, all the good quality coffee cherries are being sold for K900 per viss and demand is expected to rise. We have been seeing a lot more enquiries from foreign buyers from Europe but also Asia, too,” he said.

Asian demand

While Myanmar coffee is well-known in Europe, in Asia, it is relatively less recognised. As such, the industry is attempting to raise awareness for locally-produced coffee and expand its markets in Asia.

Last November, Myanmar attended the ceremony to establish the Asia Coffee Association, which consists of 48 countries from Asia, held in Yunnan, China. During the ceremony, judges tasted coffee produced from each nation and Myanmar coffee was ranked second.

“30 judges from various countries evaluated the coffee. Indonesia was ranked first with 87 points, Myanmar got second with 86.29 points and China was third with 84.24 points. We had the opportunity to promote the quality of our coffee to the world. Now, Chinese buyers have started to show interest and reach out to us with more demand,” said U Win Aung Kyaw.

Expanding overseas

U Sai Wan of Green Land coffee plantation in Pyin Oo Lwin is among the local growers who have received higher overseas enquiries this year. Currently, his Green Bean coffee seeds fetch around K4.8 million-K5 million per tonne in the local market. In comparison, a tonne of locally-produced coffee seeds sold for just K3.5 million three years ago.

With demand rising, Myanmar-produced coffee could fetch between $4,900 and $7,000 a tonne in the international market. “The demand from overseas markets will vary depending on the country. We will have to wait and see. Most of the harvesting work for the foreign markets is conducted from late January till March,” said U Sai Wan.

Last year, Ywar Ngan produced over 700 tonnes of coffee seeds. These were exported to the US, Switzerland, the UK, Iceland, Australia, Dubai, Russia, and the Netherlands, as well as Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.

Currently, it is estimated that there are around 80,000 acres of coffee plantation land across Myanmar, said U Win Aung Kyaw.

Source: Myanmar Times

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