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Project helps coffee farmers in Myanmar

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-08-04 09:34
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In southeastern Myanmar's Kayin State, Naw Elizabeth Chaw is optimistic about the future after learning how to process quality coffee. She studied processing technology for coffee production after attending a training conducted by the country's agriculture department, as part of China's Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund's coffee project in Myanmar.

"We previously cultivated and produced coffee in traditional ways. Now, I've come to know how to grow, process and produce quality coffee for export," she says.

Myanmar's agriculture department, implementing the LMC coffee project, has conducted trainings and distributed agricultural equipment for coffee farmers in the country. The two-year coffee project, which started in August last year and is planned to be completed in December next year, was being implemented with the approved budget of $440,000 from China's LMC special fund. As part of the project, pilot farms of coffee were being established in Mandalay and Magway regions and Chin and Shan states.

"As coffee is a high-value crop, we are making efforts to improve coffee production and quality so that it becomes our main export crop," says Myint Swe, the department's director of Coffee and Seasonal Crops Division. He is supervising the project.

Khun Myo Nyunt, one of the coffee farmers from eastern Myanmar's Shan State, is keen to expand coffee plantations in the region to replace poppy cultivation with coffee farms.

"Most of the farmers in the region were once poppy growers," he says, adding that the LMC coffee project would help facilitate the eradication of poppy cultivation.

"My neighboring coffee farmers and I received earth augers, pruning tools, refractometers and moisture meters," he says.

To date, there are more than 90 China-financed LMC special fund projects in Myanmar, including the coffee project. At present, there are some 20,234 hectares of coffee plantations in Myanmar, about 15,378 hectares of which are arabica, and about 4,856 hectares are robusta.

The Southeast Asian country produces over 9,000 tons of coffee yearly and is exporting its arabica coffee to the global market, according to the agriculture department.

"After attending the coffee-processing technology training, I'm eager to grow and produce coffee using the technology," Zir Than Hnuni, a coffee farmer from western Myanmar's Chin State, says, adding that they are establishing a collective coffee farm near Rih Lake and plan to operate a coffee shop that will attract tourists in the post-COVID period.

Under the project, the agriculture department conducted training for 1,736 coffee farmers for processing technology and provided them with agricultural equipment. The project's objectives are to upgrade the processing technology and increase export quality coffee production to achieve the competitive advantage in the international market, according to the department.

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