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Laos’ Arabica rush

From the September 2013 issue.

Arabica is on the rise in Laos, but there is disagreement among the organic coffee growers about whether the nation’s best export markets lie in Europe or closer to home.

Laos ArabicaLaos’ coffee industry has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with the volume of Arabica cultivated in the South-East Asian nation climbing sharply since 2009.

In 2012, Laos exported 25,000 tonnes of coffee, worth US$80 million, a 25 per cent increase on 2011’s 20,000 tonnes, which brought in US$65 million. Arabica currently accounts for 10,000 tonnes of that, up from just 200 tonnes in 1997. Domestic consumption accounts for just 5 per cent of the harvest.

According to the World Bank, Laos’ gross domestic product reached US$9.29 billion in 2012 and the coffee industry is one of the top 10 revenue generators in the economy.

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