Myanmar’s coffee export has fallen by half this year on the weak demand triggered by the coronavirus. Typically, Myanmar exports about 500-600 tonnes of coffee to external markets. The volume plummeted to 300 tonnes this year, said U Thi Ha, general secretary of Myanmar Coffee Association. Following the development of a vaccine for the COVID-19, the association is expecting a recovery of the market next year. The impacts of coronavirus hurt the coffee industry as the lockdown, and physical distancing caused a reduction in consumption.
The COVID-19 crisis changed the dynamics of coffee consumption this year, and roasters, cafe owners and distributors are identifying specific trends in Asian markets that may expedite recovery to a new normal, according to ASEAN Coffee Federation. Myanmar primarily produces Arabica coffee. Specialty coffee fetches as much as US$4,500-10,000 per tonne. Specialty coffee beans are highly demanded due to their high quality and organic production.
“Myanmar’s coffee has already earned a good reputation. It has penetrated markets in Asia such as Hong Kong and Singapore, European countries, and the US, and it has a good potential in the global market,” said an official from the Agriculture Department. Myanmar’s coffee has grabbed a market share in the US, with the support of USAID and Winrock International NGO. Efforts are being made to penetrate markets in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Canada.
At present, the export of coffee is extremely low as the COVID-19 hit hard the western countries. In response to the COVID-19 in the coffee sector, innovative trade offer and digital market are required to adapt to a new normal, coupled with client-oriented supply. Moreover, the coffee growers and producers need to increase quality to enter competitive markets. As a result of this, the government-backed loan is needed to help the stakeholders survive in the crisis.
There are 40,000 acres of highland coffee plantations and about 10,000 acres under lowland coffee in Myanmar, totalling 50,000 acres. Shan State is the leading producer of coffee beans. Coffee beans are harvested between December and February. They are distributed and exported throughout the year after harvest time. Myanmar yearly exports around 400 tonnes of coffee. In 2019, it shipped about 500 tonnes of coffee to foreign markets.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar