Demand for Coffee Fueling Rapid Growth of New Industry

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By NAW DWE EH KHU / KANTARAWADDY TIMES

Coffee growers in Karenni (Kayah) State say that demand for their product is so high that they have no problem at all finding a market in neighboring countries. The only question, they say, is how rapidly they can expand.

“We don’t need to seek a market—the market is coming to us,” said U Ngwe Tun, the founder of the Aung Nay Lin Tun Co., Ltd., which produces Genius Shan Tawng Myint coffee.

“We have very high demand. Therefore, our coffee farmers need to expand their coffee farms. We need to produce more coffee. The market is ready for us,” he added.

U Ngwe Tun made his remarks at a meeting between coffee farmers and representatives of the Aung Nay Lin Tun Company at the Kayah State Hall on September 7, which resulted in the two sides signing an agreement to increase coffee production.

“If we can produce quality coffee, we don’t need to seek a market. If we produce quality coffee, the market will automatically follow us,” the state’s chief minister, El Phoung Sho, said at the meeting.

There are over 400 acres of coffee farms in Karenni State, including 20 acres in the Ho Yar area of Hpruso Township, 10 acres near the town of Loi Lin Lay, and 10 acres in Shardaw Township.

Coffee grows best in cooler climates, so U Yan Lin, the chairman of the state’s committee for agriculture, livestock and social development in remote areas, suggested that coffee farmers plant coffee trees in highland areas.

“I began my coffee farm with 600 coffee trees in 2015. Now I have nearly 5,000 coffee trees at my farm in Demoso Township,” coffee farmer Daw Lee Myar told Kantarawaddy Times.

Coffee is a relatively new crop in Karenni State, but it has already shown signs of rapid expansion. In 2015 and 2016, the state produced just 490 kg of coffee, but this doubled to 980 kg in the following year, and last year, production grew further to 1,176 kg.

According to U Ngwe Tun, coffee from Karenni State has been exported to Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and other countries in the region. His company promotes the expansion of the industry by supplying coffee plants and technical support to farmers.

At the meeting, coffee experts also explained how to grow organic coffee.

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