China’s Coffee Industry: Yunnan sees opportunities after deal on geographical indications with EU

China is one of the fastest growing coffee consumers in the world. Additionally, it has been considering expanding its role as a supplier. After China and the European Union reached an agreement this year, the south-west Yunnan Province has seen increased opportunities for its most famous export – coffee beans. Yang Jinghao enlightens us further.

Coffee growers in Baoshan City, south-west China, are in harvest mode. As a major festival approaches, these small fruits are expected to generate a sizable revenue stream.

“Prices vary according to the quality of the beans. Before the beans reach the market, we peel off the cherries and dry them. The beans must be sold for at least 22 yuan per kilogramme.”

At the foot of the massive Gaoligong Mountains, a large portion of Baoshan shares a unique terrain and climate with Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, which are home to one of the world’s most sought-after coffee varieties. These factors combine to make Baoshan an ideal location for the cultivation of high-quality Arabica coffee.

Local farmers cultivated approximately 44,000 tonnes of coffee beans over the last two years, the majority of which were exported.

Li Xiaobo has a long history in the coffee trade, with the majority of his beans being exported to European countries such as Germany.

As president of Yunnan’s coffee association, he believes that the inclusion of Baoshan Arabica coffee in the China-EU deal benefits the entire industry.

LI XIAOBO President, Yunnan Coffee Association “This means that our products are of high quality and have a pleasant taste, which consumers readily accept. In the long run, the agreement will strengthen our bargaining position. Additionally, I believe the government will implement some new assistance policies.”

However, as a result of the COVID pandemic, exports of Baoshan coffee have decreased significantly. However, officials maintain their confidence and are working towards a long-term objective.

Deputy Director, Baoshan Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau “Following that, we’ll work to develop the entire industry chain. To accomplish this, we will construct a centralised processing facility for coffee cherries as well as several coffee manors. Our goal is to increase the percentage of speciality coffee to more than 80%.”

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