Myanmar coffee market to expand through Singapore

Myanmar will expand its local highland coffee exports through Singapore in a bid to reach new markets, according to the Myanmar Coffee Association.

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, local demand for coffee declined and some traders are trying to expand the market by selling overseas. We are connecting with new markets in the region through Singapore,” said U Min Hlaing, Vice Chair of the association.

The association last month participated in the Singapore Specialty Coffee Online Auction 2020, which provides a platform for global coffee bean producers to promote and introduce their beans to an Asian market, using Singapore as a hub.

Myanmar’s coffee garnered international interest during the auction, despite the lack of buyers due to COVID-19. But U Myo Aye, a local coffee entrepreneur, said demand for Myanmar-produced coffee should rise due its superior quality. “Our coffee production rate and sales will gradually get broader,” he said.

Myanmar is raising efforts to woo international buyers after coffee exports declined due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

Exports declined by half in fiscal 2019-20 compared to the previous year, when Myanmar exported more than 1000 tonnes of coffee to the US, Germany, China, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Coffee exports could decline further in the coming years, in contrast to a rising trend over the past five years, local businesses noted.

The value of coffee exported had quadrupled to over US$6 million in fiscal 2019-20 from US$1.5 million in 2014, according to the Myanmar Coffee Association.

The country’s 50,000 acres of coffee plantations produce over 8000 tonnes of beans annually, 80pc of which is higher value arabica beans, while the rest is lower grade robusta mainly used in instant coffee mix. The coffee plantations can be found in northern states like Kachin and Shan, as well as in Mandalay Region.

Domestically, 90 percent of the population drinks instant coffee imported from overseas, and the rest of the population consumes local coffee.

Source : Myanmar Times

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