My Coffee Cares - Daw Ohmar Thein from Ywangan
Meet the lovely Daw Ohmar Thein, from the township of Ywangan in the Shan State of Myanmar. In this area, most coffee is produced by smallholders, owning not more than 3 hectares of farm land.
Daw Ohmar Thein produces coffee herself and looks after 500 coffee plants on her land which is half an acre in size. The plant variety she grows is Catuai, a common hybrid varietal, stemming originally from Brazil. These types of coffee trees are lower in height and able to grow well planted at a high density, which is beneficial for smallholders. However, the problem is that the yield is relatively low and the plants need sufficient care to be able to produce a stable amount of cherries.
Originally, Daw Ohmar Thein wasn’t equipped with enough knowledge to grow coffee cherries that were suitable for the specialty coffee market and her yield was low. She was selling the beans she harvested for less than 60 euros a year. In the last few years, non-profit organisations have implemented agricultural development projects in Myanmar, educating the producers on how to improve the quality of their produce to receive a higher profit margin. She is now able to sell her coffee cherries for 150 euros a year, which is in no way a fair compensation for her hard work, but this increment already makes a huge change to her and her families lives.
Daw Ohmar Thein spends the additional income on health and education for her family and hopes to continuously improve the productivity of her coffee plants.