This week Joel's had the chance to asked a few questions of Sai Wan Maing, the producer of our newest Myanmar microlot, Green Land Estate. Sai Wan Maing is a talented and dedicated coffee grower that won Myanmar's first ever coffee cupping competition.
Joel: Can you give us a brief history of Green Land?
Sai Wan: Green Land was established in 1999, beginning with 30 acres the first year and growing every year since. Now we have a 430 acre coffee plantation.. Green Land received the Outstanding Coffee Grower award from the Ministry of Agriculture in 2003.
Joel: Myanmar is a new origin. What are some unique aspects of the climate that make it suitable for quality coffee production?
Sai Wan: Almost all of the Myanmar coffee grower grow coffee under shade trees, most of the farms are situated at high altitude with suitable climate to produce quality coffee
Joel: How has the transition towards democracy opened the door for specialty coffee?. What were things like before and how are they changing?
Sai Wan: There were very few buyers four or five years ago, mostly from China and Thailand. Together with the support of USAID and Winrock International training, education and marketing Myanmar is a now a new specialty coffee origin in Asia and has a market in US, Switzerland, France, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Joel: Green Land is quickly becoming known as an example of the potential for Myanmar. What does Green Land do that sets it off from the rest?
Sai Wan: We grow coffee with shade trees at high altitude(1160 meters above sea level), apply both chemical and organic fertilizer like cow manure, mulch with coffee pulp and husk, irrigate during the drought, harvest only the ripe coffee fruit, pulp within 24 hours using on site wet milling, do fermentation, control temperature and ph during fermentation process, then washed and sundry. We also produce by both washed and dry natural process.
Joel: What are the challenges ahead for both Green Land and the emerging specialty coffee industry in Myanmar?
Sai Wan: Low yield is a challenges for Green Land and other small estate farms in Myanmar. Most of small farms in Myanmar produce vary low yield and tends to make difficulties for them to cover the cost of production. Sustainable specialty market is require for Myanmar Coffee Industry and it will be a huge challenges when China, neighboring country is producing Specialty coffee.