Cooperative turns Son La coffee into profitable business hinh anh 1Coffee products of Bich Thao cooperative (Photo: VNA)

Son La (VNA) – A cooperative in the northwestern province of
Son La has successfully applied research and technologies to develop a thriving coffee business.

Enlisting the help of experts from the US and Germany, the Bich Thao coffee cooperative in Son La city’s Hua La commune has adopted the honey processing technology for coffee products for export.

Using locally-grown Arabica beans, the cooperative’s honey coffee has received warm response from overseas customers despite its high price of 22 USD per kg of ground coffee, compared to 1.8-2 USD for a kg of bean processed in the traditional wet method.

According to Bich Thao cooperative’s director Nguyen Xuan Thao, his cooperative has received orders for tens of tonnes of honey coffee from European and American countries.

Bich Thao has signed contracts to buy coffee beans from 300 local farms, whose plantations spanning nearly 1,000 hectares in total. In the 2018-19 crop, the cooperative bought 12,500 tonnes of beans for processing. Its products, including green/roasted coffee bean and ground coffee, have been shipped to Germany, the US, the UK, France and Thailand. 

It is noteworthy that the cooperative has researched and successfully manufactured several kinds of processing machines. In 2016, the cooperative put into use the first  pulper machine designed by itself. Since then, it received between 300 and 400 orders for the machine from coffee farmers in Son La, Dien Bien, and the Central Highlands on an annual basis, reeling in dozens of billions of VND.

The cooperative later designed a coffee processing machine that covers all steps from cherry to cup.

Bich Thao’s coffee with the trademark Son La organic coffee has been selected among 18 outstanding local products to be developed under the province’s One Commune One Product (OCOP) programme for 2019.

Coffee was first introduced into Son La and other northern provinces in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by French colonialists, turning this region into an important producer of raw Arabica coffee for the French coffee industry of the time.

The coffee area in Son La has been expanded, concentrating in Mai Son and Thuan Chau districts and Son La city, especially since 1995 when the provincial People’s Committee approved a project to plant 3,000ha of coffee trees. The tree is considered a key plant for local poverty reduction and economic development.

Up to 80 percent of local coffee beans are exported to the US, Japan and some other countries.-VNA