CQI Volunteers in Action : Bob Osgood

In May, 2016 CQI consultant Dr. Robert Osgood took a journey to Pyin Oo Lwin (Mandalay) and Southern Shan State estate farms in Myanmar to assess and study current coffee growing practices on 10 estate farms. Larger estates were targeted in this study due to the high potential for advances and successes at the estate level to filter to the smaller scale growers quickly. Currently, Myanmar smallholder producers are producing very low yields of coffee, and have a lower knowledge of farming technology.

The coffee farms visited were:

1. Lone Star

2. Ngu Shwe Li. Coffee Estate  

3. Shwe Pu Zun

4. Sithar

5. Blue Mountain

6. Green Land

7. Shwe Yi Mon

8. Creation Myanmar

9. United Power

10. Moe Htet

During each on-farm visit, recommendations were made for coffee variety, soil and plant nutrition, and experimental trials. Information was also  collected which will be useful for the development of a Myanmar coffee production handbook. Specific recommendations were made for individual farms to address their unique problems ona range of issues including shade, pests and diseases, plant husbandry and rejuvenation.

The farms visited were growing a mix of typica and advanced catimor coffee varietiesCommon varieties on these farms include: catimors (Costa Rica 8667, Laos 528 and 5178), Typicas (SL 34, SL 28 and blue mountain), and a Highland Typica from India (S 794). . Farm elevation ranged from 2500 to 3600 feet,  so the potential for high quality coffee is there. These producers  showed considerable interest in specialty coffee as a second income and as a result they put substantial energy into packaging and distribution.

Overall, Dr. Osgood found Myanmar to have well-organized coffee operations, knowledge about fertilizer and general best practices, and enthusiastic  farmers.

Based on these recommendations, these coffee producers will work to improve their agronomic practices, manage pests and diseases, improve soil and plant nutrition, rejuvenate plants and expand their coffee farms. When this is all complete we can expect much bigger volume of quality coffee from Myanmar.

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