Local coffee growers marginally hit by falling prices

A drop in global coffee prices has affected Myanmar’s coffee growers, says U Min Hlaing, secretary of Myanmar Coffee Association. Depending on the type of coffee, the price has dropped to around US$ 500 a tonne, he said.

“The weather in Brazil, a major grower of coffee, was good last year so the country had good yields. As a result, there has been an oversupply in the market, pushing down prices around the world,” U Min Hlaing said.

Coffee growers in Myanmar enjoy some protection from price volatility though. “While the volume of coffee exported has declined due to the global oversupply, growers in the Ywa Ngan area in Shan State still receive assistance from the United States Agency for International Development. Also, our contracts have fixed prices. This has cushioned the effects of falling global prices for us,” said U Win Aung Kyaw, chair of Ywa Ngan Coffee Association.

Currently, Myanmar exports coffee to the US, Europe, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries, said Myanmar Coffee Association’s chair U Ye Myint.

In lowland areas, coffee is being largely grown around Kayin State’s Thandaunggyi township. In highland areas, the crop is largely grown around Mandalay Region’s Pyin Oo Lwin township and Ywar Ngan township in southern Shan State.

An adult coffee tree produces fruit between December and February. After coffee trees are grown for about two years in a nursery, they are replanted in larger plantations. The plants yield fruits which are ready for harvesting about three years later.

Local and foreign coffee buyers are more interested in procuring coffee beans which have won awards at international contests, said U Min Hlaing.

The next such competition will be held on March 18 in Yangon and all the coffee growers from Ywar Ngan are expected to participate, said U Win Aung Kyaw.

Source: Myanmar Times

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