Myanmar Coffee Forum 2019 was held in Mandalay yesterday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. This forum moved to form a Coffee Board to push for production of quality coffee and expanding the export market.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio said in his opening address that the aim of the forum was to – “To keep our coffee sector on its development trajectory, to deal with the current situation, and to fulfill the needs for the development of coffee”.
The second coffee forum has come two years after the first one, which was held in Nay Pyi Taw on 23 May, 2017.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the Body for Protecting Farmers’ Rights and Promoting their Interest, Vice President U Henry Van Thio appreciated the successful implementation of the decisions taken at the 2017 forum, and pointed out some more requirements.
“After working for the development of the coffee sector for two years, between the two forums, we have witnessed an increase in production and access to markets, with farmers applying good technology. These have come as visible achievements,” said the Vice President.
He called for cooperation between the government departments and the private sector for the formation of a Coffee Board, quality control of coffee, getting a suitable price in the market, and granting of loans to coffee growers.
He said that coffee came after crude oil in the world trade market, and it was considered an industrial crop that could generate foreign exchange, like other agricultural products such as rice and peas.
He added that Myanmar Arabica coffee produced in Pyin Oo Lwin and Ywangan in Shan State was ranked a specialty coffee globally, and Myanmar coffee fetched a reasonable price in the international markets.
He also asked all stakeholders in the sector to develop not only Arabica coffee, but also Robusta coffee in areas with favorable climate, as a substitute for imported instant coffee.
He said it has been found that the Myanmar coffee sector still lagged in terms of development due to weaknesses in processing technology compared with Thailand, Indonesia, and Viet Nam, shortcomings in information sharing, and a small market share.
To put Myanmar coffee on the track to sustainable development, collaboration between the government and private players must be undertaken, in conformity with the government’s policies and private sector development.
The Vice President added that if the quality of coffee could be controlled, it could become an import substitute product, and get a larger share of the foreign market.
He further went on to say that to achieve this, it was necessary to rely on those who lead in terms of integrating the internal affairs and the external affairs related with coffee communities, directly and indirectly.
He called on the Agriculture Department, the Myanmar Coffee Association, and other related departments, including the Department of Trade and Cooperatives Department to form a Coffee Board, which was considered a priority at the forum.
He also called for seeking loans from local and foreign sources and exchange views and ideas for tackling current challenges at the forum as part of efforts to get good strategies for developing the coffee sector as soon as possible.
He further added that discussions at the forum should also focus on requirements to be fulfilled by the government, tasks to be carried out for the development of coffee in the future, market situation, necessary assistance for coffee growers and producing value added coffee products.
Following the Vice President’s opening address, Chief Minister of Mandalay Region Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw discussed future tasks for developing the coffee sector.
At the ceremony, Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw presented prizes to award winners in different categories related with coffee production sector.
After the ceremony the Vice President visited the Yeywa Hydro Power Plant in Kyaukse District, Mandalay Region, where officials concerned reported on generating electricity at the plant.
At the briefing hall, Managing Director of the Electric Power Generation Enterprise U Khin Maung Win reported on linkage between the plant and the national grid, electricity production, actual design and production of power in reality and security of the plant.
Afterwards, Deputy Minister Dr. Tun Naing reported on completion of power plants in 2019, maximum production of electricity yearly including from hydro power plants while Director-General of the Hydro Power Implementation Department U Chit Toe provided a briefing on completion of dams for production of hydro power.
After hearing reports, the Vice President stressed the need to take necessary measures for producing hydro power as the monsoon seasons was expected to end early this year.
He also called for maintenance of the remaining two turbines as the other two were on operation.
The Vice President also visited the plant and dam and presented gifts to the employees of the plant.
Yeywa Hydro Power Plant was established in the 2001-2002 fiscal year and the dam is 2264 ft long and 433 ft high.
Over 12 million acre feet of water flows into the dam every year and the dam can store 2.1 million acre feet.
The spillway of the dam is Ogee Type Ungated type and it is 448 ft wide.
The plant has 790 MW capacity and it can produce 3550 million Kilowatt hours.—MNA (Translated by Tun Tun Naing)