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September 22, 2019

Ywangan in Shan State achieve designation protecting its name

Workers dry coffee berries under the sun shine in Ywangan.

Ywangan, the township in Shan State that has become known for its quality coffee, has achieved a Geographical Indication (GI), the same designation that protects the Champagne region in France from copycats.
Companies that want to produce and sell coffee products under the name of Ywangan coffee will now be charged a fee, following Ywangan coffee’s achievement in gaining GI, which specifies geographical origin and expertise, according to the Myanmar Coffee Association.
Ywangan coffee is expected to get GI designation this year and the association will then proceed to acquire a copyright, it is learnt.
“Ywangan residents should hold a copyright of Ywangan. We will take charges for those companies which will produce the coffee products under the name of Ywangan. If we do not hold a copyright of Ywangan, all varieties of coffee produced from all over Myanmar can be in Ywangan name. We will try to protect the growers with GI so that they can reap the benefits from it,” said U Win Aung Kyaw, the vice chairperson of Myanmar Coffee Association.
Concerted efforts were exerted for Ywangan coffee to get GI starting in 2015, it is learnt.
“We have submitted all necessary data they want. We heard that Shwebo Pawsan (high quality rice variety) is in the process of being granted GI. After that, they will continue to carry out Ywangan coffee, said U Win Aung Kyaw.
The facts concerning Ywangan coffee have been jointly researched by the Ministry of Education (Science and Technology), Civil Service Organizations (CSOs) and the experts.
A GI is a specific intellectual property right that designates a product from a specific region and whose characteristics result in both the natural conditions of its origin and the expertise of local producers. Champagne, for instance, is among the oldest GIs, arguably the most famous and prestigious one.
It is in the Champagne vineyards, a region located 150 kilometres east of Paris, France that Champagne houses and growers have been producing, for more than three centuries and under stringent regulations, an exceptional sparkling wine. With 309 million bottles shipped to 180 countries in 2012, Champagne wines are enjoyed by a growing number of consumers worldwide.
The commercial success and fame of Champagne attracted many imitators and copycats. The counterpart to the Myanmar Coffee Association in France is Comité Champagne, which represents the Champagne growers and houses and relentlessly endeavours to protect the name Champagne and ensures that only wines that benefit from the geographical indication are called Champagne.
Ywangan coffee beans are of the Costa Rican variety and are grown as a substitute for poppy. The coffee is currently rated at a level of 85 in the global market under the recommendations from American Coffee Specialists. Any grade of 80 or above is considered a specialty coffee.
Over 700 tonnes of coffee are produced from the Green Tea coffee plant located in Ywangan Township in Southern Shan State. Out of 125 villages in Ywangan Township, about 90 are engaged in coffee plantation, with 7,300 acres of coffee farms, it is learnt.

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