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CHINA – Yunnan aims to double output by 2020

Yunnan’s coffee industry aims to more than double its output by 2020 by further expanding its planting area, according to the province’s coffee association.

Yunnan currently produces 120,000 metric tons of coffee, “but we estimate that by 2020, production will reach at least 250,000 tons and account for 3 percent of global production,” said Hu Lu, deputy secretary-general of the Coffee Association of Yunnan.

The southwestern province, with high altitudes and a temperate climate, accounts for about 98 percent of China’s coffee output. Hu said that the combination of good yields in the province and high international prices this year means Yunnan coffee farmers will reap a bumper harvest.

A strategy to expand the harvest is to increase the planting area. The Agriculture Department of Yunnan said the coffee-growing area is set to rise to 167,000 hectares from 119,333 hectares in 2013.

Sustained prices are also likely to encourage farmers to switch to cultivating coffee. Hu said that profits from coffee this year have been “considerably higher” than for other main crops such as sugar, corn and even tea.

Nestle SA, one of the pioneers of coffee in Yunnan, launched its first Nescafe Coffee Center in the Pu’er Industrial Park on Dec 12. The center aims to provide training and technical support to farmers and better quality control through its laboratory and storage facilities.

In October, Volcafe, the coffee arm of London-based commodities trader ED&F Man, set up its first export operation in the country through a joint venture with Chinese coffee exporter Simao Arabicasm Coffee Co.

But the industry still faces the challenge of consistency of supply and quality. “Consistency is a strong indicator of the professionalism of commodity growth and it will help encourage roasters to include China as a component of their blends,” said Furniss.