Myitmakha News Agency
Yangon, January 22 – neighbouring China, who annually purchases around 240 tonnes of Ywangan coffee beans, will this year halt its mass purchasing due to a rise in the price of the bean, local coffee producers predict.
The coffee beans from Ywangan township, located in the Danu self-administrated zone of Shan State, entered the world market this year with technical assistance from USAID, but it has resulted in a bitter after taste, causing the price of the commodity to increase. Local coffee producers believe that the Chinese, who have been purchasing the beans annually at a cheaper rate, will be put off from paying the higher price.
“In years past, China used to buy up as much of the coffee as it could. Households used to sell the beans along with other products. The coffee was sold for a fair price. As China didn’t fuss over the quality they bought it all. This year however saw a USAID initiative to increase the quality of the beans, resulting in the coffee being able to be sold at a higher price. It’s entered the world market.” said U Win Aung Kyaw, chairperson of the Ywangan Coffee Association.
The Chinese started buying Ywangan coffee beans back in 2012, and during 2015 they had purchased a total of 240 tonnes of the commodity. But, entry into the world market in 2016 at a level of 85 marks, with a support of American coffee experts, has put the beans from the Shan State into competition with beans from other countries.
“The Chinese don’t need such great quality coffee beans. In the manner of regional tradition, coffee growers don’t have machinery. They buy the a quality of beans which have been spilt by hand and dried under the sun. The Chinese aren’t going to buy the coffee any more this year. The price of Ywangan coffee is now up to that of prices on the world coffee market, so the Chinese can’t afford to purchase it anymore. They don’t want to pay the price which the Japanese are after. The Japanese will buy coffee if it’s good [quality].” said the general secretary of the Mandalay Coffee Association, U Min Hlaing.
A Costa-Rica coffee crop was introduced into the village of Ywangan back in 1985 as a substitute crop to the poppy which was grown to produce opium. Some forty years later in November 2015 and the Ywangan coffee is a world wide name where 1 viss (1.6kg) of the beans goes for a price of 5,000 kyats.
“The Chinese have some plan to buy the coffee. But we’re not certain yet as to exactly what extent. In previous years, they used to buy coffee beans that were hand shelled here in the village. This year though and we’ve got Korea and Thailand paying a good price for the coffee as the quality has improved. The Chinese built a factory last year in the village of Inn Kone on the southern side of Kyaukse town in which to spilt the shells of the coffee beans themselves.” said a coffee plot owner from Ywangan.
During 2015, a total of 240 tonnes of Ywangan coffee beans were exported to China, 30 tonnes domestically to the Pyin Oo Lwin Coffee Association, 30 tones to Thailand and a further 50 tonnes around Myanmar, while 18 tonnes were exported to Japan