Our visit to Myanmar continues in Pinlaung, still in the Shan region but this time south of Inle Lake. Nyaung Shwe is, moreover, a beautiful place for tourists or backpackers. It is an area in full tourist development. For coffee, it is also an area with many newly exploited and potentially exploitable terroirs. In explanation: previously, the most profitable production was opium. Indeed, Myanmar is the second largest opium producer in the world after Afghanistan with about 25% of the world’s production. In the 1990s, Myanmar produced more than half of the world’s production in this famous "golden triangle". However, thanks in part to actions such as those of USAID, some opium producers have stopped production in order to switch to coffee production. Today, the area is accessible for tourists because opium production has dropped drastically around Pinlaung. The government has put in place a policy to reduce opium production and encourage farmers to switch production. Many areas are now available to produce quality coffee.
We met Melanie Erwards and U Khine of Behind the Leaf, a brand of Lilypad that has diversified its business with the production of durable, earthquake-resistant and affordable building bricks. They have also created ceramic water filters that make drinking water accessible to all. They also offer farm animals such as rabbits and pigs with a specific system to suppress bad odour. Of course, more recently they are involved in coffee production. They are coffee producers and processors who work in the community to produce quality coffee and they have also managed to win first and second place in the contest for Myanmar’s best coffee. If you have the opportunity to visit Myanmar, drinking coffee in the Behind the Leaf coffee shop in the mountains is a unique experience!