Laos exported nearly 22,300 tonnes of coffee beans, worth almost $40 million, during the first six months of this year, up from $20 million from the same period last year, the Lao Coffee Association (LCA) said.
LCA chief of office Sivixay Xayaseng said: “The increase was attributed to the increase of coffee prices in the global market this year as well as the coffee trees producing more berries than last year.”
The amount of coffee beans produced every year varies due to many factors, such as the climate and diseases that affect the coffee plants.
Tougher measures enforced by the government have made it more difficult for foreign traders to illegally purchase coffee beans from farmers, and this is a key reason for the increase in exports.
Sivixay said: “In previous years, some foreign traders purchased coffee beans from farmers. The coffee was then transported to other countries before being processed and then exported to the third countries.
“Such illegal coffee exports posed problems for entrepreneurs in our association because the foreign traders purchased coffee beans without paying any taxes, but Lao entrepreneurs had to pay export tax to the government, which made the production cost of Lao coffee higher.
“We appreciate the fact that authorities, from the central to local levels, took action against the illegal traders, which helped reduce such transactions,” he said.
This year, entrepreneurs bought Arabica coffee beans from farmers for 1,500-3,200 kip ($0.17-$0.35) a kg, depending on the period and quality of coffee, while the overall price of coffee beans ranged from 15,000-16,500 kip per kg.
The price of Robusta peeled coffee ranged from 11,000-12,500 kip a kg this year.
Thanks to the suitable weather conditions this year, the Arabica coffee plants produced berries until January. The trees usually stop producing berries in December.
Laos exports coffee to more than 26 countries in Europe, Asia and the US. It shipped nearly 23,000 tonnes of coffee products worth almost $53 million last year, down from nearly 33,000 tonnes in 2018 worth more than $63 million.
Currently, there are eight companies that purchase coffee from Lao farmers for export and sales within the country.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK