“We planted our coffee trees in 2009 and harvested the first cherries in 2014. Throughout the production cycle, we face different problems. The worst was the frost of 2015, which almost killed our trees. We received material and training, but not enough monitoring and coaching support. In the past, we were often left on ourselves. The market was also not stable: only a few traders, coming on an irregular basis. That is why farmers did not take care of their coffee plantations.
“In 2016, we were introduced to Café Meuang Xiang (a local company) as a potential buyer. We then got support from LURAS to visit the activities of the Coffee Producers’ Cooperative (CPC) in Champasack Province. We learnt a lot from this visit: proper management of coffee trees, how to improve the soil fertility, harvest and processing techniques with a wet processing plant, how to work as a group. We stayed at their homes and we practiced the daily work they did in their coffee plantations. At our return to Xieng Khouang, we could immediately apply what we learnt from CPC.
“Now, working as a group, we can easily manage technical problems and ensure a better quality of coffee. We also developed the capacity to run our community coffee processing plant. Other farmers have now joined our group. We have gained power in negotiating a better price and we are now sharing our knowledge and experience to new members with confidence.”