New roadmap adopted to export more Lao coffee to the EU
08 July 2021
The coffee industry in Lao PDR has great potential in terms of value, being the main cash crop for many small-scale farmers. Unsurprisingly, coffee is the Lao PDR's third-largest agricultural export product, currently exported to more than 26 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.
However, the coffee sector faces pressing challenges that limit the efforts to engage in regional and global coffee trading. These constraints vary from reaching buyers in high-potential markets, improving systematic quality management, and increasing productivity and sustainability of the sector. In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the existing problems and further complicates the future of Lao coffee farmers and enterprises.
The Coffee Sector Export Roadmap offers guidance on strengthening quality compliant with international standards, fostering dynamism in the sector, and connecting to global opportunities. Small producers and firms can also benefit from sections on capacity building, organization, and trade information, among others.
Similarly, the detailed action plan of the export roadmap provides opportunities for small producers like Vanmai Coffee Cooperative to manage price volatility and increasing competition by enhancing competitiveness and marketing potential markets with a due consideration of market segmentation and the need for both quality and consistency. Vanmai Cooperative is supported by the UNODC, within the project that aims to assist beneficiaries in the communities who want to transform from opium crops, while commercialise coffee for premium international markets.
The Roadmap launch saw 80 participants meeting in person and online. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, led the Roadmap’s development. The International Trade Centre provided technical assistance as part of the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the European Union (ARISE Plus), an EU-funded initiative focusing on promoting inclusive economic growth, climate change resilience, mitigating vulnerability and job creation in Lao PDR.
‘The Coffee Sector Export Roadmap is aligned with government priorities and the ongoing initiatives in the sector, including through supporting the goals of the Lao Coffee Sector Development Strategy by 2025. During this unprecedented time, it is crucial that we continue our great collaboration in implementing the roadmap as we did in the development’. H.E. Khampheng Xaysompheng, Minister of Industry and Commerce:
‘The coffee sector has become an important source of agricultural production and exports. Going forward, the sector has even more potential to contribute to economic growth and job creation. This roadmap provides a detailed action plan to leverage the strength and addresses the constraints in domestic competitiveness’. H.E Phet Phomphithack, Minister of Agricultural and Forestry
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably brought additional challenges that require urgent improvement for competitiveness, flexibility and accessibility to up-to-date information on market conditions’. H.E. Vilayvong Boudakham, Governor of Champasack Province
‘We see a big potential to export more coffee to the EU, especially organic and fair-trade certified coffee. European consumers are ready to pay a higher price for their cup of coffee if it is organic and respectful of the environment, and if it provides decent jobs and makes a positive social impact in communities’. H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, Ambassador of the European Union to Lao PDR
‘This inclusive approach ensures that the roadmap is designed to reflect the sector’s goals and outlines a realistic and effective path for achieving them’. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
The day before the launch, stakeholders in the coffee sector discussed the way forward in implementing the Roadmap’s action plan. A one-day workshop will inform stakeholders, identify key priorities, formulate, and clarify the steering committee's responsibilities. The discussion topics in the workshop cover the four strategic objectives:
- Production and processing competitiveness
- Quality and standards
- Sector dynamism and growth
- International connections and trade
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
About Arise Plus Lao PDR: The ASEAN Regional Integration Support – Lao PDR Trade Related Assistance project (ARISE Plus Lao PDR) is funded by the European Union (EU). It aims to contribute to inclusive economic growth, increased climate change resilience, mitigation of vulnerability and job creation in Lao PDR.
Find us online: https://www.intracen.org/arise-plus-laos/