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New roadmap adopted to export more Lao coffee to the EU

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) launched the Coffee Sector Export Roadmap last week.

The Roadmap outlines increased productivity and sustainability in production and processing, while enhancing the capacity of Lao exporters, improving the Lao economy and securing better lives of the rural citizens.

The coffee industry in the 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 informa¬tion, among others.

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 the Lao PDR.

“The Coffee Sector Export Roadmap is aligned with government priorities and the ongoing initiatives in the sector, including through support¬ing 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,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Khampheng Xaysompheng.

“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,” said Minister of Agricultural and Forestry Phet Phomphithack.

“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,” said Governor of Champassak Province Vilayvong Boudakham.

“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,” said Ambassador of the European Union to the Lao PDR Ina Marciulionyte.

Source: Lao News Agency