Coffee Value Chains for Rural Development in Burma

The USAID-funded Value Chains for Rural Develop- reduced quality
ment project (VC-RD) integrates smallholders and poor  Lack of proper drying causes coffee to deteriorate
rural households into competitive commercial value during processing, creating unfavorable flavor pro-
chains to increase productivity and achieve inclusive files;
agricultural growth. The five-year project (2014-2019)  Traditional de-hulling methods damage green cof-
is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s glob- fee beans, lowering quality
al food security initiative.  Very few organized farmer groups existed (prior to
VC-RD involvement); lack of aggregation options
Strengthening the Coffee Value Chain in Burma means no economies of scale exist for processing
— Strategy: smallholder-grown coffee.

VC-RD and its partner, the Coffee Quality Institute
Producer Level — Innovations and Actions:
(CQI), are working with smallholders, community-
based organizations/enterprises Shwe Danu, Lilypad
Ywangan Amayar Co. and the Myanmar Coffee Asso-  Develop and deliver GAP trainings via local service
providers (through Training of Trainers) and/or con-
ciation (MCA) to facilitate a monumental shift in the
ducting training events directly with smallholder
way Burma’s coffee is produced, processed and mar-
keted. Emphasis is on improving quality from produc-
 Provide training on harvesting red cherries only;
tion/processing through cupping, with the goal of pro- farmers need to understand why this is important
ducing high-value specialty coffees for global markets  Support efforts to develop appropriate drying tech-
and supporting the burgeoning domestic market for nologies, including providing trainings to build
high-quality, sustainably and locally sourced coffee. raised drying racks out of local materials
 Discourage home processing of cherries; facilitate
and support organized groups to process coffee in
No. of Producers and Targeted Areas: a consistently high-quality manner
 Work with local coffee communities to develop high
Burma’s total Arabica production is estimated at about - quality sun-dried natural coffees for both domestic
5,953 MTs from both large estates and smallholder and export markets.
farms. Estates dominate in Pyin Oo Lwin (Mandalay
(These actions are supported by VC-RD’s field team working
area) and Northern Shan, while smallholders are prev-
with experts from CQI and community partner Shwe Danu.
alent in Southern Shan. In Ywangan Township, the
The project also works with MCA and private sector lead
center of smallholder coffee production, 75% of an esti- firms including the Mandalay Coffee Group (MCG), Lilypad
mated 14,600 households grow coffee, with 2,830 ha in Co., Ywangan Amayar Co., as well as local processors.)
production. VC-RD is targeting 9,000 direct beneficiar-
ies, mostly in the Ywangan and Pinlaung areas.
Off-Farm Level — Innovations and Actions:

Coffee Production — Constraints:  Support the local processing industry with im-
proved processing practices; introduce dry mill pro-
 Productivity is low and smallholder yields are im- cessing capacities through targeted lead firms
pacted by lack of proper plantation maintenance or  Introduce cupping training — from “Know Your
awareness of Good Agricultural Practices Cup” basics and cupping techniques for smallhold-
 Poor harvesting methods and prolonged, improper ers to full-scale Q cupping certification for produc-
storage of cherries is causing fermentation and ers, roasters, processors and traders (with the goal
of identifying Burma-based Q graders for the spe- farmers to earn 1.5-2 times the prices earned previ-
cialty coffee sector) ously on the domestic/commercial market
 Introduce high-quality Burma coffees to the interna-  Market linkage support for further exports of 18 MT
tional market through market promotion activities/ of Burma coffee to Europe (2016)
events and trade shows  Training and certification of Burma’s first three, offi-
 Provide training in roasting, brewing and barista cially certified Arabica Q Graders.
skills to the domestic retail coffee industry
 Work with trade association to develop competitive Expected (Life of Project) Impacts
strategies to enhance coffee value chain through
inclusive value chain upgrading.
 30% increase in coffee yields on smallholder plan-
(These actions are supported by VC-RD’s coffee program and
 30% increase in sales of specialty coffees in global
private sector team; CQI; MCA, MCG, and private sector/lead
markets; and
 30% increase in gross margins for smallholder pro-
Selected Impacts (To Date)*

 More than 6,000 smallholders supported with pro- FAST FACT: Missionaries brought coffee to
duction and processing support provided by the
project and partners Burma in 1885, but concentrated planting in
 36 MTs of coffee (including 10 MT smallholder cof- the south. Eventually production arrived in the
fee) sold exported to the US (2016) Shan highlands in the early 1930s.
 First ever “quality premiums” earned by Shan
smallholders shifting to improved, specialty grade * Note: Selected impacts reflect only one full harvest
production and processing techniques, enabling cycle (2015-2016) so far.

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