A famous chef from France has tasted the organic coffee in Pakxong district, Champassak province and agreed to place an order for the top quality beans for coffee shops in Europe including France.
The order is expected to serve as a boon for the region’s image as a coffee producer in foreign counties including France.
The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers’ Cooperative has been exporting more than 1,000 tonnes of organic coffee per year to many foreign counties, which is currently valued at some US$5 million.
France is the top overseas buyer of its coffee at some 800 tonnes per year.
Famous chef from France, Mr Alain Ducasse joined representatives of Malongo company in France and Cafe Ma company in Switzerland to visit the Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers’Cooperative in Paxong district last weekend.
The visit was aimed to sample some of the best of Lao coffee and discuss its promotion in overseas destinations including Europe.
The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers’ Cooperative and their development partners have supported local farmers in Pakxong district, Champassak province, Thataeng district, Xekong province and Lao-ngam district, Saravan province to increase the cultivation of organic coffee to support local and foreign markets.
The members of the Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative now comprise some 1,391 families from three provinces, including 826 families engaged in the organic process.
There are also 56 producers’ groups, including 36 groups in the organic process. More than 1,000 tonnes of coffee is exported by the cooperative annually.
The current area dedicated to growing the cooperative’s organic coffee is around 3,000 hectares, covering the three districts of Pakxong, Thataeng and Lao-ngam, with the produce 100 percent owned by local farmers.
According to the Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative, in 2016-2017, the yield was estimated at more than 8,000 tonnes of Arabica coffee and more than 1,000 tonnes of Robusta coffee, which was sold on both domestic and foreign markets.
The foreign markets still require more Lao organic coffee year to year, therefore the coffee producers’ cooperative plans to increase its plantation areas and producers’ groups for organic coffee in an effort to meet the demand.
The president of the Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers’ Cooperative, Mr Bounthong Thepkaysone said that many foreign counties especially in Europe are interested in Lao organic coffee and have offered a better price than what is received for normal coffee.
He said this is because organic coffee is high quality, good for people’s health and also certified.
The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers’ Cooperative was established in 2007 as an organisation to improve the living conditions of Lao coffee smallholders and fight against poverty in the area.
The coffee producers cooperative and the Malongo company are not only cooperating in relation to business; they also support capacity building and infrastructure development in local communities, as well as work to improve farming practices for all members.
The Lao Coffee Association has reported that most of the Lao coffee crop is exported to France, Chinese Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Spain, Poland, Germany, USA, Belgium, Sweden, Thailand and Vietnam.
Due to a slump in coffee prices on the world market, the sale price of Lao coffee and export volumes have been declining in recent years.
In 2013, Laos exported 30,000 tonnes of coffee valued at US$72 million. In 2014, total coffee exports dropped to 26,000 tonnes valued at US$60 million. Last year exports fell further to 23,000 tonnes valued at US$50 million.
Source: Vientiane Times