On December 4, 2014, U Nelson Rweel aka U Tun Myaing provided RCY with an inspiring description of his efforts to assist the Palaung Tea Growers and Sellers Association. Faced with ongoing ethnic conflicts in Kachin State, and an increasing socio-economic burden of poppy cultivation in the remote areas, tea-growers were determined to develop a formal association and marketing programme.

U Nelson met with Secretary U Moe Kyaw (owner of Myanmar Marketing & Research Development) to draw up a plan of action, under his capacity as a  member of UMFCCI. Within weeks he had a fully developed Mission Statement, vision and goals, a Business Plan, and a Marketing Strategy to take back to the tea growers.  Since that time, the Palaung Tea-Growers have regularized their wild-harvest picking schedule, conducting quality controls to ensure uniform harvest standards, added storage space, packing sheds, commenced packaging and distribution systems, and generally upgraded industry standards for the local market and for export. In response to calls from other tea growers around the country, U Nelson has now expanded to form the Myanmar Tea Growers & Sellers Association. He noted that fermented tea (lephetthoke) is their most popular product, and has been very popular at overseas exhibitions, as well as the standard black and green tea leaves. He has also included several other spicy tinned products in the marketing effort, adding that while Myanmar is one of the top 5 tea-producing nations in the world, it is perhaps 20th in brand-name recognition. “Nobody knows who we are … yet,” he says, confident that Myanmar’s pickled, pungent fermented tea product, mixed with nuts, sesame seed and chilis, with bring fame to the simple goodness of Myanmar’s tea.

Bravo, U Nelson! RCY salutes you for offering specialty packaged gift packs for the Charter Dinner VIPs and guests on Feb. 2, 2015!