Global standards issued for local coffee producers

IN a bid to promote local coffee to the international market, the Agriculture Department will be issuing a Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certificate to qualified local coffee producers this year, said Daw May Thet Hlaing, a coffee expert from the Coffee Research, Information, Extension and Training Centre.

Local coffee producers who meet a list of 16 conditions specified under the GAP will be given a certificate starting this year, she said.

The certificates will be issued in time for this year’s coffee harvest “We have already set out the GAP standards for our country and aligned them with the standards of other countries. We discussed the processes with coffee growers and amended the requirements accordingly. The last discussion was in Mandalay in March. Now, we have reached the stage where we are calling for applications,” Daw May Thet Hlaing said.

The GAP standards include food safety, environmental conservation and labour rights.”If the coffee is produced in accordance with those standards, it can fetch a good price from overseas buyers,” she said.

GAP standards are now being implemented on a global scale and local coffee producers will benefit from adhering to them. “Whether the growers apply the certificates or not, it is good for the industry to practice global rules of conduct and agricultural standards, which will benefit consumers worldwide,” said U Ye Myint, chair of Myanmar Coffee Association.

International interest in Myanmar coffee has been rising over the past two years, particularly in the US, Japan, Switzerland and the UK. More recently, Iceland, Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Russia and the Netherlands have also expressed interest in importing local coffee.

Last year, Myanmar exported almost 500 tonnes of coffee, of which close to 40 percent, or around 180 tonnes, was shipped to the US.

Currently, the price per tonne of local coffee is K4.5 million, which is up by almost 30pc in two years. In the international market, a tonne of local coffee can be sold for US$4,900-US$7,000, depending on quality.

Source: Myanmar Times