I. Executive summary
This recommendation paper highlighted Agroforestry-integrated farming practices and concepts in sustainable land use systems for coffee cultivation and production in Chin state. Coffee can cultivate with other cash crops such as Zawngtak, Avocado, and Jackfruit for shade trees, black pepper, and orchids on the shade trees, bean and maize between the coffee plants and Conjack, Alu, Sweet potato in the soil. Moreover, Cardamom can be cultivated on the coffee farms. The required natural fertilizers can be produced from domestic animals husbandry in the farms.
Myanmar is currently facing high demand in agriculture and technology which has the potential to create significant positive impacts for job creation and poverty alleviation. Chin has great topography for quality coffee cultivation and has good experiences in agriculture and animal husbandry practices. The best specialty coffee is available in Chin Hills and it has been approved by coffee experts. It needs to grow high sea level and good precipitation. Commercialized production can be implemented in Chin state with the strategic plan, systematic approach and modern cultivation techniques, agroforest-integrated farming system. The coffee drinking culture in Asia, Pacific rapidly increase, China and India are now starting consuming. Local market in Myanmar is also increasing for instant and good quality coffee. Coffee farming will be one of the long-term asset creations for passive income. This agroforestry-integrated farming model can attract eco-tourism and agro-tourism business as well.
There are two kinds of coffee varieties can be cultivated in Chin state, that are Catimor from Robusta generation, possible in lower land under 3500 feet of sea level, mass productive, but low coffee quality and low income and the s795, generation of Arabica, cultivable in over 3500 feet of sea level up to 6500 feet depending on the precipitation and climate variation. The s795 has a great quality of specialty coffee but low harvest and high pesticide. For commercial production, it can be cultivated Catuai, modified generation of Arabica. It has the higher harvest, strong resistance and dwarf tree type.
Why should we promote coffee cultivation in Chin state because:
1. We have the required agroecosystem and suitable topography
2. We are traditionally experienced cultivators and domestic animal husbandry
3. We can produce final product in Chin state and do value adding services
4. Coffee from Chin Hills has special quality which is already known by the world consumers
5. Chin Coffee has market already
6. Coffee can be cultivated under the agroforestry-integrated farming system
7. Coffee can be preserved for years
8. We don't need to cut all trees for cultivation and that will maintain ecosystem
9. Coffee farms can reserve deforestation
10. We still can get firewood from coffee farm
11. We can cultivate other cash crops on the shade trees, between coffee plants and in the soil
12. We can alleviate poverty by leveraging income
13. We can produce other products from used coffee wages
III. Current situation
Coffee is a highly labor-intensive crop but why it is so cheap in Myanmar because it is still a low-profit crop in Myanmar and many farmers have chosen to stop planting coffee and switch to more lucrative items. Many coffee cultivators in Myanmar included Chin farmers facing lack of market demand, technical and financial support while the international coffee market is strong and high demand. Coffee is still a cheap commodity in Myanmar the consumers and growers don’t see the opportunities as a premium product.
Coffee cultivation in Myanmar started since in the late of 18 century. However, commercial production is still relatively small amounts. Coffee cultivation and production in Myanmar was as follow. In 2012-2013 statistic, cultivation 1283 acres, production 912 acres and total yield 156 Metric-ton in Chin state while the whole Myanmar cultivation 60820.9 acres, production 26991.5 acres and total yield 7441 MT. The annual growth rate in global coffee consumption has averaged 2 percent since 2011, and the world consumed the equivalent of 152.2 million 60kg bags in 2015, according to the intergovernmental International Coffee Organisation.
Most smallholder farmers cannot provide the investments needed to transform their agricultural systems into more climate-smart and sustainable systems with higher soil fertility and greater diversity.